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Cottonians boycott classes, resort to hunger strike against merger

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 March 2017 12:00 AM GMT


Guwahati, March 9: Academic activities in the prestigious Cotton College today came to a grinding halt following a class boycott call given by the Cotton College Union Society (CCUS) in protest against the Assam government’s decision to create Cotton University.

While the classrooms in the sprawling Cotton College campus looked empty since morning, the CCUS members resorted to a 10-hour hunger strike on the issue. Teachers came to classes, waited for students and filly left after finding none. The CCUS members who staged their strike in front of the main entrance gate of the College shouted slogans and displayed placards against Dispur’s decision.

The 116-year old Cotton College on Wednesday became history with the Assam Assembly passed the Cotton University Bill, 2017 to pave the way for creating Cotton University.

Even though state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had assured to initiate all possible measures to make Cotton University one of the best varsities not only of India but of the world, Cottonins were not at all convinced and happy.

“We simply do not understand what problem the government had by keeping the me of century old Cotton College intact. The college could have been upgraded into a university on the line of other leading colleges in the country. History, emotion, sentiments and attachments of thousands of people of Assam are associated with Cotton College. The present government has killed Cotton College and the people of Assam will not forgive such act,” CCUS general secretary Jintu Thakuriya said.

A high-powered expert panel constituted by the BJP-led government last year recommended for creation of a single institution of higher education by clubbing both Cotton College and Cotton College State University. Cotton College was set up in 1901 by Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton, the then chief commissioner of Assam, while in 2011, the erstwhile Congress government set up Cotton College State University.

Thakuriya alleged that the expert committee did not take all stakeholders of Cotton College particularly Cottonins into confidence when it submitted its report to the state government. He said if the government does not scrap the legislation to create Cotton University the CCUS would intensify its agitation in the coming days.

Cotton University will be unitary in ture and will enjoy full academic autonomy in preparing syllabus, conducting examitions, evaluation and declaration of results. It will, however, not be empowered to accord affiliation to other colleges and institutions.

The university will have faculties of Arts, Science, Law, Medicine, Technology, Agriculture, Engineering, Commerce, Magement, Mass Communication, Environmental Studies, Indian Fine Arts and such other streams as may be prescribed by statutes.

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