JU authorities to exercise caution before allowing politicians on campus
Jadavpur University (JU) authorities would exercise caution before allowing political persons on their campus, pro vice-chancellor Chiranjib Bhattacharjee said on Monday, even as the blame game over the student agitation against Union minister Babul Supriyo and the ransacking of a student’s union room on September 19 continued in the state.
“From now on, we would exercise caution before giving our nod to events organised by students’ organisations in which political personalities would be invited. This is to avoid untoward situations such as the recent one. However, the events organised by the registered student unions will be treated differently and the norms will be relaxed,” Bhattacharjee said.
By ‘registered student unions’, he meant the arts faculty students’ union (AFSU), science faculty students’ union (SFSU) and faculty of engineering and technology students’ union (FETSU).
All three unions are dominated by various Leftwing student organisations over the past few decades.
By student organisations, the pro-VC meant the likes of CPM’s student wing Student Federation of India, TMC’s student wing Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) student wing Akhil Bharat Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) criticised the decision saying that they suspect the JU authorities are trying to side with the Leftist students and professors.
“Babul Supriyo should not be considered as a politician. He is a reputed singer and a Union minister. A minister should not be treated as a politician. Ministers belong to all,” said Saptarshi Sarkar, ABVP state unit secretary, adding that the authorities would not hopefully allow student unions to hold any event because the tenures of the unions have ended.
The JU elections were held in 2017. The elections in 2018 and 2019 have not been held.
“We welcome the authorities’ decision,” said Debraj Debnath, JU unit secretary of the Students Federation of India, the student wing of the CPI(M).
The decision came at a time political blame game and agitations over the violence on the campus on September 19 continued for the fifth day, with ABVP taking out a rally in south Kolkata for Jadavpur protesting the manhandling of Supriyo and the students and teachers of JU were seen forming a human chain outside the campus to ‘protect the institution from outsiders’.
Even JU registrar Snehamanju Basu and pro vice-chancellor Chiranjeeb Bhattacharjee had joined other teachers outside the campus, as several hundred students took over the arterial road along the campus.
The police, however, did not allow the ABVP rally to reach near the campus.
While the student who was seen pulling union minister Babul Supriyo’s hair during the brawl and whose mother’s appeal to Supriyo seeking forgiveness went viral on social media, addressed the media on the campus and defended his act.
“I have no regrets and I do not apologise. I did it in self-defense. I came under attack from his security guards. Now they are threatening my parents to issue apology. I condemn their mean tactics of threatening my father and ailing mother,” said Debanjan Ballabh, the Sanskrit College student.
Meanwhile, ABVP state unit joint secretary Suranjan Sarkar, who is also a student of JU’s mass communication department and was seen in a photograph writing the name of ABVP inside the arts faculty students’ union room that had just been vandalized, also refused to apologise.
“I didn’t take part in the vandalism but I did no wrong by writing the name of my organisation. If SFI’s name could be there, so could ours,” said Sarkar.
Sarkar alleged that he did not go the campus since Thursday because he felt threat to his life. A group of students from the mass communication department
BJP leader Agnimitra Paul, who accompanied Supriyo to the campus, lodged a complaint at the cyber police station on Monday against a JU student for abusive and objectionable remarks on her.
In a meeting of Trinamool Congress labour wing, chief minister Mamata Banerjee made a brief reference to the JU incident and said, “What did they (BJP) do in Jadavpur University? They apply force everywhere.”