Less than three weeks after people holding flags of the Trinamool Congress’ student wing vandalised Presidency University here, protests by the party’s labour wing disrupted academic activity at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) in the State’s Paschim Medinipur district on Tuesday.
“About 500 M. Tech students were scheduled to appear for viva examinations during the day. But the protesters did not allow the non-teaching staff to enter the campus, jeopardising the entire examination schedule,” IIT-KGP’s Registrar T.K. Ghosal told The Hindu over telephone.
Saying academic activities were disrupted at the Institute for the first time due to protests, Mr. Ghosal said the examinations, which were scheduled to start from 8 a.m., started hours later in the afternoon as non-teaching employees were not allowed to enter the premises. “Our air-conditioning system was not functioning and the water supply was disrupted,” he said. Those protesting under the banner of Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress (INTTUC) were demanding that the institute’s 300 contractual staff be made permanent, the Registrar said.
The protesters blocked the IIT main entrance and another gate from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Only after the Institute’s officials intimated the district administration of the situation did the protesters allow the non-teaching employees to enter the premises and examinations were held in some departments.
Local Trinamool Congress leaders who led the agitation said the protests were meant to highlight the demand of contractual workers at the IIT.
Meanwhile, the inquiry committee formed by the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) probing the vandalism at Presidency University on April 10 interrogated officers of the Jorasanko Police station during the day. “Members of the committee asked the police officers what steps were taken by them on the day of the disturbance”,” a senior WBHRC official said.