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Failed students lay siege to college

A group of failed students of a Howrah college kept their teachers confined in the compound allegedly with Trinamul support on Thursday, demanding that they be allowed to write the undergraduate Part II exams of Calcutta University.

Around 30 students of Bijoy Krishna Girls College near Howrah Maidan, who were among the 80-odd who had failed the Part II qualifying test, laid siege to teacher-in-charge Rina Sengupta’s room for five hours from 11.30am, shouting slogans in support of their demand. Sengupta and the other teachers could move around but were not allowed to leave the campus.

The siege was lifted after Sengupta asked the students to submit their demands in writing, which will be placed before the academic council on Friday. “Students who failed the test gheraoed me, demanding promotion. Their demands will be tabled before the academic council,” said the teacher-in-charge.

“We have to be allowed to write the final exams. The local Trinamul leadership is behind us,” said Moumita Maity, a BA second-year student, who claimed to be a Trinamul supporter.

Some Trinamul Chhatra Parishad leaders stood outside the college while the protest was on but they denied their involvement with the campus siege. “A student has committed suicide after failing an exam. The teacher-in-charge misbehaved with her while rejecting her plea for promotion, forcing her to kill herself. We are here to mourn the death and demand an apology from the teacher-in-charge,” said Anupam Ghose, the district president of the outfit.

Several teachers at the college, however, alleged that the Trinamul activists were raising slogans in favour of the agitating students.

Asked about the allegation of misbehaviour, Sengupta said: “I don’t remember any such incident.”

About 1,100 BA, BSc and BCom second-year students wrote the Part II test held from January 28 to February 5. Close to 80 failed.

The failed students first pleaded with Sengupta to allow them to write the Part II finals to be held in April and May. “After their plea was turned down, the students got in touch with the district leadership of Trinamul Chhatra Parishad. The students must have been inspired by the Trinamul-backed 22-hour gherao of teachers at Santoshpur Rishi Aurobindo Balika Vidyapith in December,” said a college official.

Shankudeb Panda, the state president of the Trinamul students’ wing, had allegedly egged on the students who were demanding that they be allowed to write the HS despite failing the qualifying exam. The gherao spawned a spurt of similar protests across the Bengal.