The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Presidency admission row

Calcutta, July 31: Bitter feud over admission spilt blood in one of the most sought-after colleges in the city, giving most of the prospective freshers their first taste of student politics.

Violence erupted at Presidency College and the adjacent Eden Hindu Hostel last night when two students — Upal Chakraborty, general secretary of the college’s independent union, and Sutirtha Dutta, a third-year zoology student — were assaulted by members of the SFI, the students’ wing of the CPM.

Tension had been brewing on the campus over a “coaching camp” organised by the SFI to aid aspiring candidates in the admission tests. SFI members were allegedly claiming that candidates going through the camp would be admitted.

Principal Amitava Chatterjee recently declared such camps unauthorised and dismissed the student union’s claim.

“I can assure all the students seeking admission into Presidency College there is no such ‘quota system’ by which any group can claim to admit anyone here. We follow a stringent admission procedure with equal weightage to the board examination score as well as the admission test score,” Chatterjee said.

An FIR was lodged in Jorasanko police station, naming Sukanta Hazra and Dipen Debnath of the chemistry department, Dritiman of mathematics and ex-student Gouranga Dandapat.

“I have heard there was a clash between two sections of students, the police are there to tackle the situation,” Chatterjee said.

Around 10.30 last night, more than 100 armed outsiders, allegedly SFI supporters, entered the hostel, housing students of Presidency, Sanskrit, Maulana Azad and Goenka colleges, and laid siege. They beat up several boarders and damaged property as a police contingent looked on.

An officer of Jorasanko police station said the policemen hesitated to intervene because the principal had not instructed them to do so.

But Chatterjee differed. “The police could have been more firm,” he said today.

“A disciplinary committee will meet on August 3 to review the matter and the culprits will be punished. We hope to reach a solution soon,” he added.

On Wednesday, the counters distributing admission forms at Scottish Church College were closed for a few hours after SFI and Chhatra Parishad, a Congress-backed union, members clashed as candidates and their guardians waited in queue.

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