Over 50 Part-II students of Serampore College held the principal and teachers hostage for over 27 hours from Thursday afternoon, demanding permission to sit for the final exam despite poor attendance.
Trinamul student leaders have backed these students, who gheraoed the administrative building and stopped the principal and around a dozen teachers from leaving their respective rooms till 6pm on Friday. The blockade was lifted after a delegation of students decided to meet Calcutta University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das next week.
Trouble began after principal Laltuangliana Khiangte announced on Thursday afternoon that students with less than 75 per cent attendance, in accordance with Calcutta University rules, wouldn’t be allowed to write the BA, BSc and BCom final exams slated for April and May.
These students had cleared the Part-II test but the college authorities decided to strictly follow the attendance norms for the final.
“The test results were declared on March 6. All of us have cleared it. Why did the administration allow us to take the test if our attendance wasn’t up to the mark? Earlier, students with 60 per cent attendance were allowed to write the exam by paying a fine. The university rules have this provision,” a student said, declining to give his name.
The rules state any student with attendance between 75 and 60 per cent is considered a “non-collegiate candidate” and he must pay a fine to the university to write the exam. This option is not available for anyone having less than 60 per cent attendance.
Indranil Ray, a Trinamul leader at the college, justified the agitation saying most candidates have narrowly missed the attendance mark and so they should be allowed to sit for the exam.
Principal Khiangte said: “Other than attendance much lower than the minimum required percentage, these students got poor marks in the test. The UGC wants every college to be strict on attendance. We can’t be lenient.”
Education minister Bratya Basu ruled out accepting the students’ demand.