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Pappu ‘drops’ guard

Pappu, the former Presidency University guard who had testified against flag-wielding Trinamul supporters after the vandalism on campus last April, joined a party union on Wednesday to set tongues wagging about the fate of the probe into that incident.

“I have faith in chief minister Mamata Banerjee and that’s why I have joined the union,” Pappu, whom few address by his official name Santosh Singh, told Metro.

Pappu joining a Trinamul union months after being transferred led many to speculate about what it meant for the probe into the April 10 fracas. He was transferred to a college in Jhargram, 170km from Calcutta, allegedly because he had testified against supporters of the ruling party.

Sources said Pappu, a third-generation guard at Presidency, was desperate to return to the institution his family had served for more than eight decades.

The government recently sanctioned 120 non-teaching posts for Presidency and Pappu is apparently in contention, having signed the relevant service-option form meant for employees of the erstwhile Presidency College.

“His family still lives on the campus, but the authorities can’t let them stay for long. The way out for him is to be posted in Presidency again,” a teacher said.

Pappu’s allegiance to the Sara Bangla Trinamul Sikshabandhu Samity was announced by its president Gagan Sarkar on the Presidency campus. The 40-year-old was gifted an uttariyo (scarf) bearing the union’s name as part his initiation into the party fold. “He was earlier with the CPM. He has realised that Trinamul is the way ahead,” Sarkar declared.

A union leader said the top Trinamul leadership had been consulted before making Pappu a member. But minister Partha Chatterjee, who had accused the former Presidency guard of provoking the vandalism at Presidency, denied it. “They did not seek the party’s nod to induct him. The party does not approve of this decision,” he said.