Presidency University vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia amidst protesting students on Thursday. Picture by Anup Bhattacharya
Presidency University students led by Independents’ Consolidation (IC) shouted slogans and held a sit-in on Thursday to protest the removal of registrar Prabir Dasgupta.
The state government has turned down Dasgupta’s plea to be allowed to quit the state education service and continue at Presidency.
Dasgupta, who was among the most vocal in protesting last year’s vandalism at Presidency by people carrying Trinamul flags, was on Wednesday asked to join Durgapur Government College as associate professor.
A large number of students assembled in front of the main gate of the College Street institution at 9.30am and started shouting slogans protesting Dasgupta’s removal.
The students stood in front of vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia’s car when she arrived around 10.30am, forcing her to get off the vehicle and walk down the pathway leading to the administrative building that houses her office.
The agitating students kept tailing Lohia till she reached her chamber, shouting slogans all the way.
Before that, the students had stopped the vehicle of the officiating registrar — controller of examinations Debojyoti Konar — the same way.
As soon as Lohia stepped into the campus, the students demanded “immediate steps to reinstate Prabir Dasgupta” as registrar. They also insisted that the VC and other senior officials immediately hold a meeting with the students to discuss the registrar’s removal.
Lohia refused to hold the meeting. Around 1.30pm, she called some IC representatives to her room and told them that she could not accept their demand.
“I have nothing to do in this regard. I received an order from the government on Wednesday evening directing me to release the registrar. I have implemented that order,” Lohia said.
She, however, said she would inform the government about the students’ demand.
The Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), which still doesn’t have a toehold on the campus, took a dig at IC protest, saying: “Bad when we do it, okay when others do?”
TMCP state president Shanku Deb Panda expressed “shock” at the way protesters “heckled senior officials” of Presidency.
“The VC had to release the registrar on the basis of a government order. The IC had no business protesting a government decision. We were surprised that the IC was not criticised for their act.... There was complete lawlessness on the campus....”
In April 2013, people carrying TMCP flags and with no link to Presidency had invaded the campus, chased students and ransacked laboratories.
Dasgupta had drawn the ire of the Trinamul government by publicly saying that persons carrying TMCP flags had barged into the campus and ransacked the institute.
Panda had earlier expressed his dislike for Dasgupta. In March, he had lodged a complaint with the state election commission, demanding action against Dasgupta for his “failure” to prevent a students’ referendum on whether Sugata Bose should resign from the mentor group for contesting the Lok Sabha elections on a Trinamul ticket.