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East Hostel stalemate continues at Ravenshaw

Cuttack, Nov. 1: The stalemate at Ravenshaw University entered its fifth day today. An appeal made by the students’ union failed to evoke any response from the protesting students who are demanding a rollback of the decision to allot the East Hostel, after its renovation, to girl students.

The protesters have kept the main gates of the university locked since October 28. They have not allowed any staff through the gates even after police broke the locks. The agitation was launched after the university authorities made their decision public through a communique to the press.

While sustained efforts of negotiation by the university authorities have failed, the appeal made by the students’ union president and the secretary to withdraw their agitation did not yield any result.

Students’ union president Hari Shankar Rout and secretary Girija Shankar Mallik, through a communique to the press yesterday, had appealed for the withdrawal of the agitation to restore normalcy.

The agitators, however, said they were not aware of any such appeal made to them in person. “Neither the president nor the secretary of the students union came to us or sent any such appeal to us. We came to know about it from the newspapers,” said Ganeshwar Pradhan, a protesting student.

Another protester, Pratap Mohanty, said that it would have been better if the student union representatives had come to them directly instead of appealing to them through the media.

“Before going for the agitation, the union was neither intimated, nor was its support sought. So secretary Girija Shankar Malik and I made the appeal through a press communique,” Rout said. “We were concerned as there have been no classes over the last few days and all academic activities had come to a halt,” he added.

Both the students’ union president and the secretary were signatories to the decision of the university authorities to allot the East Hostel, after its renovation, to girl students. “Both of us were present and we agreed as the decision was taken keeping in mind the number of girls (60 per cent of total strength) and their safety,” said Rout.

“Besides, we found there was enough reason behind the decision because the condition in the existing girls hostels were miserable. Many of them would have dropped out if they had not been provided accommodation,” the students’ union president said.

“There has been no change in the situation as yet (at 6 pm) even after breaking of the main gate locks by the police,” registrar Smarapriya Mishra told The Telegraph.

“Police broke open the locks this morning on behalf of the administration to ensure smooth filling up of forms by the plus two students of Ravenshaw Junior College,” Malgodown police station inspector-in-charge Suprasanna Mallik told The Telegraph. “The agitating students have not stopped the plus two students. There have been no untoward incidents. We are keeping a close watch on the situation,” he added.

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