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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Protesting students' unrest and repeated violence on campus, vice chancellor of Utkal University Soumendra Mohan Patnaik along with his other colleagues today staged a sit-in in front of his office.

The strike, which he called 'Introspective Silent Fasting' began in the morning today and will continue till 8pm. Patnaik appealed to the students to uphold peace and harmony on the campus and bring back academic atmosphere.

The agitation came a day after a group of students gheraoed him and PG Council chairman demanding students' union polls, which was cancelled on September 18 following violence.

Violent activities like hurling of crackers near women's hostels and students' clash had prompted the varsity authorities to cancel the election and close the institution sine die.

After 20 days, the authorities revoked the closure order and reopened the campus on Monday for students.

Higher Education Minister Ananta Das said he has nothing to do with the strike as he is not aware of the development.

“The VC has not discussed anything with me. What I got to know from media is that it’s a token strike in a complete non-violent manner. He has no demands. He has only appealed to the students to maintain peace on the campus. The government doesn’t want to interfere in the internal matter of an autonomous institution like Utkal University,” Das told OTV over phone.

He further informed that a meeting of principal and vice chancellor of all colleges and universities will be held today. The issue of Utkal University will be discussed in the meeting, he added.

Later in the day, he said that government will seek a report soon from VC as the government doesn't support such strike . It's too early to say whether elections will be conducted in the varsity, the minister added.

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