Teachers at St. Paul’s College during the siege on Friday night. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Trinamul-backed students at St. Paul’s College kept the teacher-in-charge and 35 other teachers confined in a room from 7pm to 10.30pm on Friday to protest the authorities’ decision to publish the merit list for admission without consulting them.
The students also opposed the decision to conduct admission over two days.
Officials at the Amherst Street college said many of the teachers were taken ill during the siege, which started soon after a meeting of the admission committee ended.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee told Metro late on Friday that he would not brook any meddling by the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) in the admission process. “I have told the TMCP that the government won’t tolerate any attempt at keeping teachers confined. The authorities are free to conduct the admission process in whatever way they want. If there are complaints of anomalies, my department will look into them,” Chatterjee said.
Teacher-in-charge Mrinal Kanti Chakrabarti said it was convenient to hold admission over two days. “Those who will fail to turn up on Day One will get a second chance. This has been the tradition at the college,” said Chakrabarti. “Student representatives in the admission committee did not oppose the decision to conduct admission over two days at the meeting.”
Tanmay Das, a TMCP leader at the college, alleged that student representatives were kept in the dark about the merit list so that the authorities could admit undeserving students.
The two-day admission would spawn trouble, Das claimed, without being able to explain how.
A teacher said the student leaders were peeved because two-day admission would curb the scope of manipulation. “If admission is held over one day, the students who will fail to turn up that day will have no option but to approach the leaders for admission in exchange of money. But in the system the college follows, such students will have another shot at admission without resorting to illegal means,” said a teacher.
The teachers’ statements suggest the student leaders at the north Calcutta college were trying to create a situation similar to the one that had allegedly prevailed at Bhaktabala BEd College in Nadia, where a Trinamul student leader stands accused of taking money to ensure out-of-turn admission.
A Calcutta University official said student representatives need not be consulted at all on admission-related matters.
An officer of Amherst Street police station said: “We were on the campus but the authorities did not seek our help to lift the siege.”
The gherao was lifted after the teacher-in-charge said the governing body of the college would take up the matter on Monday.