Student with nowhere to go asked to leave Kolkata varsity hostel amid Covid-19

Last Updated 29 July 2020, 16:33 IST

An impoverished under-graduate student of Presidency University, who was abandoned by his father many years ago, on Wednesday claimed that the hostel authorities are pressuring him to vacate his room immediately, but he has nowhere to go in the country.

Johny Biswas, second-year UG student of Bengali, said his mother was living in misery at her brother's place in Bangladesh after his father deserted her too, and he would have to live on footpath or kill himself if he is forced to leave the Eden Hindu Hostel.

University officials said students are not allowed to stay in hostels because of the Covid-19 pandemic but they will enquire into the plight of Biswas.

"Once the lockdown started, I along with some others was stuck (in the hostel) but we thought it will be over after some time and the authorities will declare the hostel to open again. However as the situation continued and, now I have nowhere to go," the student said.

Biswas, who gets a scholarship, does not have any relative living in India from whom he can seek help. He and his mother were abandoned by his father after he married for a second time years back. He used to stay at a friends place during his high school days but he is also now not ready to take him back.

"If I am forced to leave the hostel, I will either have to live on footpath or kill myself. But if I die by suicide, all my battle for myself and my mother will come to nought," he said.

Claiming that he was served an ultimatum by the authorities to leave the hostel, Biswas said that the university authorities including the head of the department of his stream and the dean of students are aware of his situation since he got admitted to the institute.

He said that he is not getting help from any quarters in the Covid-19 time.

"I got admitted to Presidency on the basis of my merit and have always sincere in my studies. Shouldn't I be treated sympathetically by my teachers? Can't they allow me to stay? To help an economically challenged student is also the role of an educational institute," he said.

He said he has his lunch in a community kitchen run by students and skips dinner to save money.

When told about the student's plight, Dean of Students Prof Arun Maity said, "I will inquire into the issue."

Another university official said that as per the advisory of the higher education department in this pandemic situation, students cannot be allowed to stay in hostels anymore.

SFI leader of Presidency University, Tanmoy Paul, said, "Its true that Johny has nowhere to go. We are trying to ensure that he is allowed to stay."

(Published 29 July 2020, 16:33 IST)

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