Presidency students apologise but firm on stand, govt backs VC

 Agitating Presidency University students on Monday apologised for their unruly behaviour during their protests demanding Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia`s resignation but refused to back down from their stand and said they would continue with the gherao.

IANS| Updated: Aug 24, 2015, 23:03 PM IST

Kolkata: Agitating Presidency University students on Monday apologised for their unruly behaviour during their protests demanding Vice Chancellor Anuradha Lohia`s resignation but refused to back down from their stand and said they would continue with the gherao.

A section of students continued to demonstrate in the vice chancellor`s office for the fourth day on Monday, pressing for her resignation claiming non-action during an alleged police assault last week.

The students have been agitating, saying many of them were roughed up by police during the Friday visit of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the College street campus of the university. But their form of protest has been likened to "hooliganism" and criticised all across.

"We think we have distanced ourselves from the masses with this form of movement and we offer our apologies," said Presidency University student Nabajit Dey.

They wiped off the graffiti from the vice chancellor`s office walls and announced their decision to carry on with peaceful protests.

However, they firmly insisted on Lohia stepping down from her post.

"We are neither offering our apologies to the vice-chancellor nor withdrawing our demand. We will carry on with gherao from Tuesday," a student said.

The protests seemed to be losing steam and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said he is keeping tabs on the students` protests at the prestigious varsity.

The minister asserted that the vice chancellor, who was kept under confinement for over a day, will remain in charge.

"I am keeping an eye on everything. Anuradha Lohia is the vice chancellor now and will remain so," Chatterjee told the media here.

Lohia on Saturday stood firm on her decision to not quit, and said Governor K.N. Tripathi supported her stand, after some students confined her on Friday night.

The students also called for a boycott of the university`s third convocation on Saturday. However, the event took place without any interruption. Lohia was allowed to go home late Saturday evening.

On Friday, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad -- the students` wing of the ruling Trinamool Congress -- took out a rally in the city denouncing the Presidency agitation.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have slammed the Trinamool for interfering in education in the state.