Stand up to hooligans, demand protection, Narayanan asks students

Kolkata, April 12 (IANS) Urging students to demand police presence on campuses across all universities, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan Friday asked the Presidency University students to stand up in the face of vandalism and atrocities.

The governor, who visited the prestigious university two days after it was vandalised, allegedly by activists of the Trinamool Congress students wing, said a new set of laws and rules is necessary to deal with “unprecedented” incidents in educational establishments.

“Two things are necessary. The administration must do its best to ensure it never happens again and I urge you students to stand up…stand up… and never allow this to happen. Do not get sort of pushed out on the backfoot as a result,” he said.

“We need a new set of laws, a new set of instructions, mechanism to deal with increasing instances of outsiders, criminals intruding in places of education. There is a certain amount of automatic response to situations of this kind to put in place a mechanism,” the governor said while addressing students and teachers of Presidency University here Friday.

“We will try in consultation with the state government and the authorities and the police to try and put in place. It may take a little time but lets hope this will happen,” he added.

The governor, who also is the chancellor of the university, inspected the damage in the famous Baker’s Building that was ransacked by the attackers, who stormed the elite university campus Wednesday and vandalised the premises and beat up students, some of them women.

The vandalism was a part of a series of statewide retaliatory attacks after Trinamool supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Finance Minister Amit Mitra were Tuesday heckled by a crowd including members of the Students Federation of India, affiliated to opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist.

Hinting at the repercussions on the university’s image and reputation in the wake of the attack, Narayanan said: “If students of Presidency University can be sort of treated in this manner, then I think there is a reverberation for it to go far beyond the university itself and city itself.”

Narayanan also highlighted the tendency of university and college administration to wait until the last minute for police help.

There is a tendency on the part of the college and the university administration “to wait till almost the last minute and that gives the hooligans a chance to do the things,” he said.

He requested the students not to shy away from police protection but instead initiate a movement to demand physical presence of policemen on campus.

“I would like all the students saying that we want more policeman on the campus. The major issue always has been that we don’t want police, we know how to handle it,” said the former Indian Police Service officer who earlier had a stint as the National Security Adviser.

“I know 95 or 99 percent would like it, it’s that one percent who are interested in creating trouble,” he said.

“I want a movement to start by which you demand that we need more protection we need more policemen, we need more authority to be given to the vice chancellors, the dean and others so that if necessary they can handle the situation. We need the physical presence of policemen because then, I can tell you, even the worse policemen on the street is some kind of bulwark against some kind of vandalism,” he said.

Narayanan also stressed the requirement of foot policemen.

“One of the biggest problems that we are facing is the absence of foot policemen, people who do the beats walking on the street. I think will go a very long way,” he said.

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