Presi guard-ian angel

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  • Published 14.04.13

Calcutta, April 13: When Presidency University guard Santosh “Pappu” Singh was being interrogated at Jorasanko police station, some 50 anxious students and teachers waited outside quietly.

After the more-than-three-hour grilling ended at 3.12pm, they escorted him back to the campus, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Pappu, 40, is a third-generation guard at Presidency. He is the grandson of Ram Eqbal Singh, who died defending students during a riot in 1926.

A plaque dedicated to Ram Eqbal, to the left of Presidency’s main entrance, reads: “In memory of Ram Eqbal Singh, durwan, Presidency College, who lost his life while gallantly defending the college during the April riots of 1926. This tablet is raised in appreciation of his sense of duty by the staff and students and some members of the public.”

Ram Eqbal’s son Ram Deo Singh, who was fondly called “Johnny”, too served the institution. Pappu took up the guard’s post after Ram Deo’s death in 1997.

A professor said that Pappu, a native of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, was carrying on the legacy of his forefathers.

“Be it trouble between two groups of students on the campus or a disaster like a fire, Pappu is always there to protect us. The police should not have harassed him before probing the matter properly,” he said.

A third-year student said: “We are shocked to see that the man whose forefathers dedicated their lives to protecting the institution has become the target of political conspirators. Pappuda was not involved in Wednesday’s vandalism. We condemn the harassment of an innocent, student-friendly and protective staff member.”