Some Trinamul-aligned non-teaching staff and students of Kalyani University locked in interim vice chancellor Amalendu Bhuniya and 16 other officials for at least 10 hours on Tuesday, demanding the suspension of the convocation scheduled for Thursday until a full-fledged VC is appointed.
The agitation ended after 10pm. Bhuniya and the officials emerged from the VC's secretariat after 10 hours, but the interim VC did not clarify before the media if the convocation would be held on Thursday as planned.
Protesters had alleged that an interim VC had no right to organise such an event and degree certificates of students signed by him might be invalid. They demonstrated outside the VC's secretariat and around noon locked its entrance, a little after Bhuniya began a preparatory meeting for the convocation with senior officials.
Varsity sources said according to the concurrence of chancellor and Bengal governor C.V. Ananda Bose, Kalyani University authorities notified the 25th convocation last month to be held on December 7 after five years.
Many have been eagerly awaiting the event, as they couldn't receive their degree certificates since no convocation was held in five years. It created problems in the pursuit of advanced studies, research and job hunt.
At least 700 are registered as recipients of degrees.
President of the Kalyani University unit of Sara Bangla Trinamul Shiksha Bandhu Samiti, Anjan Dutta, said they also wanted the convocation, but not without a permanent VC.
"We have demanded the event be held only after the joining of a regular vice-chancellor. This is mainly because we have doubts about the validity of Bhuniya's signature on the certificates of being an interim VC."
Tuhin Ghosh, a researcher and students' wing leader virtually echoed Dutta: "Appointment of the interim VC is a sub judice matter. We want a convocation under a regular VC."
However, members of Kalyani Biswabidyalaya Shikshak Samiti, an organisation of varsity teachers, condemned the protest. They said the convocation was needed for students, who were waiting for their degree certificates for five years. A delegation of teachers met Bhuniya with a memorandum urging him not to suspend the convocation for the sake of students.
Bhuniya said: "Doubts about the interim VC's authority to organise a convocation and the validity of his signature on certificates are unfounded. I am shocked about the demand to suspend the convocation when everything is ready and the governor has agreed. I have apprised the chief minister and the governor about the agitation and am waiting for their directives."
Sources said the Trinamul leadership in Kalyani isolated itself from the agitation.