A section of students of the Annamalai University went on the rampage on the university campus on Friday.

They were protesting against, what they called, the harsh measures adopted by the university authorities with regard to attendance requirements.

They targeted the office of the Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and trooped to Vice-Chancellor M. Ramanathan’s bungalow where they smashed the window panes.

A large contingent of police, led by Additional Superintendent of Police (Chidambaram) M. Durai, reached the university campus to restore order.

Later, Dr. Ramanathan lent a patient hearing to their grievances . The students insisted that the circular regarding the attendance be withdrawn because it imposed strict conditions which they found it difficult to comply with.

Dr. Ramanathan told The Hindu that as per the university norms only those students who were having 80 per cent attendance were permitted to take the semester examinations. However, on requests from students certain grace period was allowed on a case-to-case basis, that too on valid grounds, to the extent of 5 per cent. Even in those cases condonation fees were charged.

Since the students had made a plea that many of them could not meet the attendance criterion and would miss out a semester, the Vice-Chancellor temporarily withdrew the circular on condition that the norms would be strictly adhered to in the next semester.

Some of the students were of the view that the trouble began after a student hailing from north India was manhandled by the staff of the engineering faculty when he questioned about the attendance rules. When the word spread all the students from north India gathered in front of the engineering faculty, voicing their protest against the high-handed behaviour of the staff. Soon, they were joined by other students too.