Presidency University Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia left the campus on Tuesday (February 4) morning after being confined within her chamber for over 16 hours due to a demonstration by students.
Lohia left her office through a side exit door at 6 am, though a section of students continued their sit-in before her office on the first floor, a university official said. The VC did not take calls after leaving for home. The official said, she was okay but showed signs of stress for prolonged confinement.
The students had launched their protest in front of the VC’s office since 2 pm on Monday, demanding that the repair works in three of the five wards of 130-year-old Hindu Hostel be completed without delay and eight sacked hostel employees be reinstated immediately.
“We had demanded a categorical reply from the VC about our demands, a written note listing all the issues before allowing her to leave but she escaped through a side door even as we were sitting outside the main door. We will not allow her to get away like this when she visits the campus again,” Subho Biswas, an IC member, and one of the agitators said.
The protesting students also demanded that the VC expresses regret in writing over female students allegedly being prevented from taking part in a convention on the day of Saraswati Puja on the campus due to the hostel renovation issue.
Biswas alleged that despite repeated reminders, the authorities did not expedite the repair work in the Hindu Hostel and took “vindictive” action against those demanding quick completion of hostel repair. He alleged that female students, supporting the hostel renovation on an urgent basis, were viciously prevented to enter the campus on January 29 to attend the convention.
The secretary of girls’ common room Shruti Roy Muhuri alleged university authorities were dilly-dallying over timely completion of work in wards 3, 4 and 5 of the Hindu Hostel since last year. Over 30 students are made to put up within a very limited space of the two renovated wards, she claimed.
Dean of Students Arun Maity said, “I am in an urgent meeting, please call me later.” Two wards of the Hindu Hostel, under repair for three years, were opened for students in November 2018 after agitation by students.
The Hindu Hostel building, located adjacent to the university, has been shut for repairs since July, 2015 and the boarders had been shifted to a rented accommodation at New Town as a makeshift arrangement.