West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan on Friday apologised to students of Presidency University here, admitting that he and the varsity authorities had failed to prevent the attack on the institution premises.
“We may have failed you. I as a Chancellor and also as a Governor accept that I have not been able to fulfil my responsibilities towards you,” Mr. Narayanan told the students at an interactive session in light of Wednesday’s attack by Trinamool Congress workers on the college.
The incident was “unprecedented” and “a blot on our hopes for the future”, he said, apologising to the students at the outset of the session.
“I apologise to all the students of Presidency University and all the universities in Kolkata and Bengal for what has happened … This should never have happened; this should never happen again. I think this is a blot on our hopes for the future and of our ambitions and the interests in this centre of excellence,” he said.
He said he did not want to indulge in “fault finding” over the incident. He assured the students that “a false case is a false case” and should not be entertained — he was responding to queries that cases against some victims were registered when they went to file a police complaint.
Asked how the students could feel secure again, Mr. Narayanan advocated greater police presence on campuses while claiming that there was “a very unfortunate legacy of an excess of liberalism in this matter.”
“I think a situation has arisen, especially in West Bengal, over the years where there has been a contract between the university administration, the college administration, political parties and others to say that the police will not be allowed inside the campus and feel that if they are within the campus, their functions and their role must be reduced,” he said.
Asked about the partisan role that the police often played in these situations, he said that it was true that governments, irrespective of political persuasion, did “try to bend the instruments they have to favour them” and the police is one of “the most visible symbols.”
However, “the worst policeman on the street is some kind of a bulwark against vandalism,” he said.
Mr. Narayanan said he was going “beyond the Constitutional responsibilities of a Governor” but he would review the situation of campus security with senior police officials in the next few weeks.