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Nachiketa numbers disturb examinees

Siliguri, Dec. 17: Chaos reigned supreme at Siliguri College today when members of the Chhatra Parishad, the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad and the SFI held demonstrations and noisy meetings with singer Nachiketa belting out protest songs even as 47 students sat for their BCA semester exams.

While the joint public meeting of the Chhatra Parishad and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad was arranged just outside the college gate, members of the SFI choked the doorway of the principal’s office. They were shouting slogans demanding steps against the Chhatra Parishad and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad for confining principal Moloy Karanjai and 48 second-year students to a classroom for three hours yesterday.

The Chhatra Parishad and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad were protesting against the alleged connivance between the principal and the SFI to rig the December 30 college union elections. The meeting outside the gate today was over the same issue and started at 12:05pm, continuing for the next one-and-a-half hours. The exams of the first and fifth semesters of the BCA began at 12 noon and continued till 2pm in the library hall, a stone’s throw from the meeting venue.

“The meeting began barely five minutes after our question papers were distributed and continued till 1.30pm. The noise was so loud that we could not concentrate in writing the answers,” said Pritam Sen, one of the students who sat for the exam.

Papai Singh, one of the students confined yesterday, said as the results of the first unit test for second year political science (honours) were very bad, the principal was taking our feedback on the reasons for this poor performance yesterday. “He was interacting with the students individually and there was nobody in the room except for him and the students concerned. There was no question of his campaigning for any union,” he said.

The SFI-backed Siliguri College Students’ Union gave a call for class boycott in the college today from 12pm to 12.50pm to protest yesterday’s incident.

“All the allegations raised against me are baseless. As for the public meeting organised outside the college I had called up the subdivisional officer and asked him to take steps as the students who were taking the exams, were feeling disturbed. However, nothing was done by the administration,” Karanjai said.

Abhijit Roy Chowdhury, the president of the Siliguri Town Chhatra Parishad, said “only two loudspeakers” had been put up. “The BCA department is situated farther away from the college entrance. The authorities knew through media reports that a public meeting would be held near the college, why then wasn’t the exam conducted there instead of the library hall?”

At the meeting, Nachiketa sang We Shall Overcome and Pathe Ebar Namo Sathi. “In this state, you have to be a member of a particular party to be a principal or a teacher,” the singer said before he sang.

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