Already in news for all the wrong reasons, the Government College of Art and Craft (GCAC), hit the headlines once again on Wednesday when a section of the students locked the teacher-in-charge, Jayanta Choudhury, out of the college premises, demanding his immediate resignation.
On reaching the college, Choudhury found his room locked from outside. The office room and the library were locked too. This happened a day after the students kept Choudhury confined within the college premises till 9.30 pm. Police came to his rescue and had to use force to make the students release the teacher in-charge.
Choudhury, along with five office staff, met the director of public instruction (DPI) at Bikash Bhavan on Wednesday and informed him about the whole incident. He has also lodged a complaint at New Market police station.
“I have informed everything to higher authorities in writing,” Choudhury said. “There has been some lack of coordination between the teachers and the students. We’ll take necessary steps in this regard. We hope the problem would be sorted out and the college would start functioning by Thursday,” Deepak Mandal, DPI, told HT.
However, the students have refused to back down.
Eminent painter Ganesh Haloi, who had been associated with this college both as a student and a professor, said that he was unable to condemn the GCAC fiasco.
“I wonder what great issue could have prompted the same students to agitate in such way who did not say a word when the tainted ‘Tagore exhibition’ took place? There was no students’ agitation that time,” the 76-yearold artist told HT.
“The heritage institution is only moving towards its peril,” Haloi said.
148-years-old GCAC is one of the premiere art institutes in the entire country and had the likes of EB Havell, Percy Brown, Mukul Dey, Abanindranath Tagore and Chintamoni Kar as its principals and vice-principals.
However, since the controversial ‘Tagore exhibition’ in February-March 2011, the GCAC has made headlines only because of wrong reasons. Since January this year, the college had its third teacher-incharge in Choudhury. All of the teacher-in-charges have faced opposition from other teachers. Manoj Sarkar served as its principal for 18 days in last December-January, following which Swati Bhattacharya was appointed as the teacher-incharge.
However, she was removed in March after a number of teachers and students complained against her to the education department. Chandan Das was then appointed as the teacher-in-charge but he, too, suffered the same kind of opposition from a section of teachers.
Choudhury replaced Das in July and since then he, too, has been facing opposition from the other teachers. College insiders say, at present, 23 of the 27 teachers at the college are against Choudhury and want his removal, while Choudhury has three teachers by his side.
“The students’ agitation is a result of the factional feud between the teachers,” a source said.
The agitating students, however, said that their demonstrations have nothing to do with the teachers’ internam, equations. “Our protest is against the absolute mismanagement of the present teacher-in-charge, whose way of running the institution is set to ruin our future,” one of the students claimed.
Another teacher said, “The teachers have been fighting against Choudhury’s foul practices separately.
It’s just a coincidence that the demands of the majority of teachers and students have come together.”