The Government College of Art and Crafts (GCAC), the country's oldest and most well-known art college — a state government-run institution under the Calcutta University — tainted after a May 2011 exhibition of fake Tagore paintings, sunk to another low on Tuesday with a professor landing in a hospital ICCU following a heated exchange between two groups of teachers who filed complaints against each other at the New Market police station.
On Thursday, 22 out of 26 teachers moved a petition before the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI), seeking the removal of the teacher-in-charge Jayanta Choudhury.
"Two groups of teachers lodged complaints against each other. We’re inquiring into it," Santanu Sinha Biswas, officer-in-charge of New Market police station told HT. "A hallowed institution is descending into complete darkness and anarchy," said a third year student of painting who sought anonymity.
GCAC has been passing through turmoil since January, when Manoj Sarkar was appointed as the principal based on a high court order. He retired within a month and Swati Bhattacharya was made teacher-in-charge in February. In March, Chandan Das was installed in her place. Two months later, in May, Choudhury took charge. Both Bhattacharya and Das faced opposition from a section of the teachers.
The tension between the two camps reached its height on Tuesday afternoon, when Chandan Das, a former teacher-in-charge, complained of chest pain during a heated conversation between Choudhury and other teachers in the staff room. Das was rushed to the ICCU of Belle Vue Clinic.
Minutes after admitting Das to the hospital, 20 of the 26 teachers at the GCAC went to the New Market police station to lodge a complaint against Choudhury. Soon after they emerged from the police station, in walked Choudhury to lodge a counter-complaint. But the drama did not end there.
Around 5.30pm on Tuesday, the protesting teachers assembled on the grounds of the college and gathered a section of the students to tell them how Choudhury had run the institute into a mess. They left the college around 6.30pm, when Choudhury reached the spot.
He addressed the students and told them how the teachers were damaging the institute and their careers. Choudhury left the college after 10pm.
On Wednesday, Choudhury sent a report to the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) relating the events and how he was suffering from the non-cooperation of his colleagues. On Thursday, 22 teachers submitted a complaint against Choudhury at the DPI, seeking his removal.