Governor sorry for ‘failing’ Presidency

TWO days after Presidency University was vandalized and its students and teachers assaulted,Governor M K Narayanan did what no state minister has done so far: he visited Presidency,apologized to students for having failed to provide them security as chancellor,and promised that Wednesday’s incidents would not be repeated.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: April 13, 2013 3:37 am

TWO days after Presidency University was vandalized and its students and teachers assaulted,Governor M K Narayanan did what no state minister has done so far: he visited Presidency,apologized to students for having failed to provide them security as chancellor,and promised that Wednesday’s incidents would not be repeated.

Goons carrying Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad flags overran the campus on Wednesday,and allegedly used spears and iron rods to attack students and property.

They ransacked the celebrated,century-old Baker’s Building which houses the physics laboratory where scientists of the calibre of Jagadish Chandra Bose,Satyendra Nath Bose and Meghnad Saha once worked.

A student asked Narayanan why Trinamool leaders had denied their involvement in the incident. The governor replied: “You will have to wait till the investigation ends. It is usual practice for political parties to not acknowledge guilt. The chief minister and finance minister were assaulted in Delhi. And the political party involved in the incident denied responsibility.”

His comment on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s responsibility was more guarded. He stressed that upgrading Presidency was the chief minister’s “dream project”,and that she had been “devastated” by the 30-minute rampage on campus. “Chief Minister herself has expressed grief. This is a dream project for her and for us.”

Narayanan,who apologized more than once to the students,said that while he as chancellor had failed,“others too have to share the blame”.

Later,to another question from a student,he said: “Everything,science,technology,is getting better. Politics is the only thing that is getting coarser.”

The attack on the university,a centre of excellence,was a “blot”,he said. On the alleged molestation of women on campus,he said,“We believed West Bengal was the safest place for girls and women. But I don’t know what happened to that culture.”

The governor’s unprecedented interaction with the rattled Presidency community followed a request made to him by Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar to visit the university to inspect the fallout of the vandalism. He promised a fair probe,and said that he had asked the Kolkata Police commissioner to ensure that the incident did not recur.

On allegations of “false cases” being lodged against students,Narayanan said an investigation would determine the truth. “A false case is a false,” he said. “Please keep the faith.”

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