The University of Madras has asked Mohammed Sathak College of Arts & Science, Sholinganallur, to respond to a petition it recently received from members of the Students Federation of India (SFI), raising certain issues.

The college has been closed since last Monday following agitation by a section of students. According to students, the agitation was in the context of a girl student allegedly committing suicide, after a professor pointed to her violating the prescribed dress code. “The professor made some very harsh remarks in front of everyone in class and the girl felt insulted.

We suspect that the incident provoked her to take the extreme step. The parents, fearing unwarranted publicity, refrained from lodging a police complaint,” said one of the students of the college.

S. Shaik Alawdeen, principal of the college, said the death of the student had nothing to do with anything that happened in the college. The professor, he added, did not say anything harsh to her.

Soon after the girl's death, students mobilised and demanded that the college relax its stringent dress code. Mr. Shaik Alawdeen said since the students were going “out of control”, the institution had to be closed. Not all those protesting were students of the college. “We have nearly 2,600 studying in our college. Since some of the students started agitating for a flimsy reason, we thought it would be better to resolve the issue and then reopen the college.”

Madras University Vice-chancellor G. Thiruvasagam said: “The university has asked the college to respond in a week. Once we get that, we will take a decision,” he said. Students said they received letters addressed to their parents, asking them to advise their wards to refrain from such protests. The college is expected to reopen next week, some students were told. "We heard that the college will be reopened this week, but there has been no formal communication," said a student.

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