Presidency group against gated community

Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) While observing that there was need for adequate security in the wake of recent vandalism, the Presidency University Mentor Group Monday said “locked gates” would undermine the “principle of academic freedom”.

“We recognise the need for adequate security and policing given our location in a difficult urban environment. However, a gated community militates against the ethos of Presidency and locked gates undermine the principle of academic freedom,” the Mentor Group said in a statement.

Students and teachers of the University have raised the demand to increase the security after hooligans carrying flags of the students’ wing of Trinamool Congress, vandalised the university, including the historic Baker Laboratory and attacked students including girls.

The April 10 attack has attracted severe criticism from all quarters with its students, teachers and alumni taking to the streets in protest against the incident.

Describing the vandalism as an “appalling incident”, the mentor group demanded an “impartial investigation” into the violence to ensure that the “guilty are swiftly brought to book”.

“We publicly affirm our full support for Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar and commend her for the wisdom, courage and dignity with which she dealt with a most aggravating situation,” the statement said.

Despite some senior Trinamool leaders criticising Sarkar for issuing strong comments against the incident and joining students in their protests, the entire academic community of the university, including Chancellor — and state Governor — M.K. Narayanan, stood by her side.

The mentor group was set up by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in June 2011, to revive the fortunes of the renowned university.

Comprising 10 renowned academicians from across the country, the group has Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as its advisor.

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