Violence, student’s suicide delay reopening of college which was scheduled for Wednesday
Presidency College, which was set to open on Wednesday after a tumultuous few weeks, stayed shut after student clashes erupted once again. However, college authorities maintained that the institute was closed due to the suicide of a B.Com student in the outskirts of the city, on Wednesday.
Over the past month or so, there have been spurts of violence, strikes and a much-delayed student union election at the college. The election was held on August 31 and its results announced soon after, but anticipating violence among rival student groups, the college remained shut for a few more days.
On Tuesday, the police recovered a cache of lethal weapons including knives and iron rods from the college premises and posted a posse of police officials on the campus.
Wednesday however, saw several students arriving on the campus. “Some student groups insisted on celebrating the victory of their representative in the election. We denied permission because it would not be appropriate considering the death. But since they were insistent, we let them celebrate outside the campus,” a senior professor said.
While the winning candidates and their supporters were bursting crackers and dancing, rival student groups from inside the campus pelted stones at them, which led to a few tussles.
The police, however, took charge of the situation, said a student.
Later in the day, senior police officials met the principal, senior professors and student representatives to chart out the plan ahead.
Part of the plan is to reduce the police presence on the campus. “However, since we anticipate some repercussions of the elections this month, we plan to carry out more patrols here,” a senior police official said.
“First of all, we have asked them to urge their supporters not to climb on top of buses or create a ruckus on public transport systems,” said the police official. “All student representatives have agreed to support the administration in its efforts to restore discipline on the campus,” he added.
In the last two months, according to police officials, there have been at least five acts of violence and cases were booked in two.
“There has not been one week that the college has functioned properly. At least now, we expect the student leaders to lend their voice against violence and help us run the college properly,” he said.
The elected leaders have also demanded a coach for the college football team and a few more extra-curricular activities. “There is almost no quality recreation because there is no canteen here and students leave by lunch, after which they look for part-time employment. We are also looking at engaging them in several kinds of activities,” said another professor.