The Trinamul students’ wing celebrated Holi using loudspeakers in violation of rules on Calcutta University’s College Street campus and allegedly ignored repeated requests from the authorities to stop before relenting on Tuesday.
The supporters of the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad danced to blaring music for several hours from 11am while an undergraduate fine arts test was on and hundreds of students were taking their last Higher Secondary paper at Hare School across the road.
The high court has banned the use of loudspeakers in the open during board exams at the secondary and Plus-II levels.
University officials said music blared out from as many as six loudspeakers in front of the students’ union room while the students danced, smeared each other with colour and munched on jalebis.
“The revellers turned down at least three requests from the vice-chancellor’s office to stop the illegal programme before finally relenting,” said a senior official who refused to be named.
Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das, however, denied that the students had initially ignored requests from his office to stop the programme.
“They did not have the permission to hold such a programme.... I immediately asked my staff to tell the students to stop using loudspeakers. The students turned off the loudspeakers around 1.15pm,” said Das.
A senior university officials, however, said the decibel demon raged at least till 3.30pm.
“Every time a functionary from the VC’s office came down to the spot, the student leaders assured him of immediate compliance but kept playing the loudspeakers,” the official said.
“The staff had to plead with them at least four times before they relented around 3.30pm.”
Most of the revellers, who started around 11.30am, were exhausted by then.
Tathagata Saha, the general secretary of the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parisahd who was among the revellers, claimed they had the permission for the programme.
“I have checked with my unit members and confirmed that we had taken the VC’s permission verbally seven days back,” said Saha.
An invigilator on duty in the hall where 142 fine arts students wrote their Part I and Part III exams said several students had pointed out the problems caused by the noise. The Part I candidates wrote their exams from between 11.30am and 1.30pm. The Part III students wrote from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.
CU norms prohibit the use of loud speakers on campus without permission.
“We brought the issue to the attention of the VC’s staff asking for his intervention. But when his intervention did not yield anything, we were left with no choice but to endure the torture,” said an invigilator who did not wish to be named.
A CU official clarified celebrations on the eve of Holi at the behest of union leaders is not unusual on the campus, but what Tuesday’s celebrations were different because of the use of loudspeakers, which belted out popular Bollywood tracks.
A section of officials blamed the CU authorities for being habitually soft on offenders. “Last November, right outside the VC’s chamber on the first floor of Darbhanga Building the two Trinamul Congress led factions of the CU employees’ union held a program, in which loudspeakers were used. The programme led to a scuffle drawing criticism from several quarters but no one was hauled up for that let alone being punished,” a senior official said.
“All announcements of enforcing discipline have remained on paper.”