Mamata Banerjee government vs students: Why colleges, universities in Bengal have turned into battleground

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Prestigious colleges and universities in West Bengal have witnessed a chain of protests in the last two months. After Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) and Jadavpur University, its time for Presidency University authorities to feel the heat. A section of students have begun a sit-in protest outside the Vice-Chancellor Authorities had assured us that the boarders will be shifted to Eden Hindu Hostel by August 1. But they failed to meet the deadline and are now saying that work has not been completed yet. But, the students cannot live in their present lodging. Therefore, they have decided to turn this campus into their hostel and stay here till they are shifted to Hindu Hostel, What is the issue? Over 60 students have decided to camp at the college campus asserting that they wont return to temporary accommodation in New Town area in Kolkata. Instead, they wanted to shift the Hindu Hostel. The building of Hindu Hostel has been closed for renovation since July 29, 2015. 150 boarders have been staying at a rented accommodation at New Town, about 18 km from the university. Authorities have asserted that it will take at least four more months to complete renovation work. Latest flashpoint in the government-student conflict The relationship between a section of students and the state government led by Mamata Banerjee has been a torrid one so far. The relationship that started souring with the Hok Kolorob Movement in 2014, reached its nadir during last months Calcutta Medical College stir. On July 23, the agitating Calcutta Medical College and Hospital students had ended their indefinite hunger strike on the 14th day after a college council meeting decided to give in to their demands and accommodate senior students in two floors of the new 11-storied hostel. Prior to that on July 10, days-long students protest forced Jadavpur University authorities revoked their decision to scrap admission tests in six Humanities subjects. On July Presidency University students union members had gone for a sit-in at the campus to protest against an abnormal hike in counselling fee to courses in BA and B Sc streams. The sit-in was held outside the offices of the registrar, Deans of different faculty to protest against the authorities decision to charge Rs 500 instead of the earlier fee of Rs 100 as counselling fee, Ayan Chakraborty a spokesman of the SFI, the student wing of the CPI(M), said. While these protests at the cr In comparison, central government-funded institutions in Bengal, such as Visva Bharati University, have not witnessed any major protest. Why the protests? Former Presidency College Principal Amal Mukhopadhyay told The Indian Express, For example, when students who fail in the examination launch a protest, demanding that they be promoted. On the other hand, students of Presidency University have launched a protest demanding that they be allowed to stay at the renovated hostel. The vice-chancellor could not deliver what she had promised in time. It is a just cause. Also, any person Earlier, only educationists held such posts. These activities are aimed at controlling universities, The state government has said these protests are Let them address such issues. We will not interfere,