WB govt to probe Jadavpur University molestation

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2014 17:56 IST

After wide protests by students, the West Bengal government Monday announced a probe into the alleged sexual harassment of a female student of Jadavpur University.

"The panel headed by, Suranjan Das, vice-chancellor of Calcutta University will submit its report by Thursday morning," said Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, who met the victim at her residence.

The five-member panel includes eminent Indologist Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri and West Bengal School Service Commission Chairman Subiresh Bhattacharya.

While the university formed a panel to investigate the alleged incident where a female student was dragged into the boys' hostel and molested last month, the students have been demanding an independent probe panel.

Video: 'Will write to NCW about women safety in Jadavpur University': Meenakshi Lekhi

Earlier Trinamool Congress Yuva president and chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, triggered fresh controversy by taking a dig at the Jadavpur University students’ agitation on his Facebook page.

Abhisek's post has lent a fresh dimension to the controversy that is raging across West Bengal over the past few days following an alleged crackdown of the police on JU students last Tuesday.

“The students are agitating as there has been a crackdown against consumption of booze, ganja and charas on the Jadavpur University campus,” wrote Abhishek in a Facebook post in Bengali.

Twenty-seven-year old Abhishek is the Lok Sabha MP from Diamond Harbour constituency in South 24 Parganas district.

Incidentally, last week chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the JU agitation as a "small matter" during a ceremony in Kolkata.

"A mountain is being made out of a molehill," said the chief minister.

While most students and teachers of the JU say Banerjee's comment is an attempt to break the movement, some feel that the remark is an outcome of the immense pressure on the party from the media and growing sections of the civil society.

“What is evident from the Facebook post updated by Trinamool Congress youth wing president is that he is not aware of JU’s global standing. Every student dreams of getting admission to JU after the higher secondary examination. It is showing that the ruling party is under a lot of pressure,” said a student of the university.

"The culture of the ruling party has deteriorated to such depths that it is impossible for them to appreciate the language of the JU students' protest," said Srutinath Praharaj, leader of West Bengal College and University Teachers' Association, a Left-leaning teacher's organisation.

“It is extremely disappointing to see a post like this. This is nothing but an attempt to break our movement,” added Nilanjana Gupta, another teacher.

Politicians from opposing parties too joined in condemning Abhisek’s post.

“First they said Maoists were behind the incident. When they found thousands of students from all campuses were joining the agitation, they shifted that stance. Now they have found Trinamool Congress is losing support on this question, and therefore, they are resorting to such allegations,” said state BJP president Rahul Sinha.

"They can't think of anything beyond alcohol. It is just an attempt to malign the movement," said CPI(M) central committee leader, Md Selim.

JU students have been protesting demanding the resignation of the vice-chancellor, the pro V-C and the registrar of the university in the wake of alleged police assault on students early on September 17.

Thousands of students had marched through the city's streets on Saturday demanding resignation of JU vice-chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti and West Bengal governor KN Tripathi intervened to end the four-day old stalemate in the prestigious educational institution.

Students from Presidency University, Calcutta University and other educational institutions joined the march in a show of solidarity.

JU students have boycotted classes to press the demand for the V-C's resignation. Those in the mass communication department boycotted their examination on September 18.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS)

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