TMC, JU teachers back VC after Governor indicates action for attack on Union Minister Babul Supriyo
Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) have backed the university’s vice-chancellor Suranjan Das after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar indicated action against him and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded his resignation following an alleged assault on Union minister Babul Supriyo in the campus on Thursday.
The office of the governor, who is also the chancellor of JU, issued a statement on Friday morning that said, “The issue of serious lapses by the University VC, including virtual abandonment of his obligations, and apparent failure of the State Police Administration in attending to the situations appropriately and inadequate security arrangements for the Governor/Chancellor during his visit are receiving his attention for way forward steps.”
Supriyo was at the university to attend an event organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
By Friday the evening, the signs of another showdown between the TMC and the Governor was even more evident with Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee, who is also the state education minister, issuing a statement, saying, “We express our total solidarity with the Vice Chancellor, Professors and students of Jadavpur University.”
“Our expectation is that Governor must give justice to Vice Chancellor, Professors and students. We are always with the teachers and the student communities,” Chatterjee’s statement read.
Later in the evening the JU authorities and the teachers’ association issued separate statements expressing solidarity with the vice-chancellor.
Historian Suranjan Das, who had previously served as the vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, took charge of JU in 2015 after his predecessor resigned following a prolonged standoff over his decision to call the police inside the campus to end a student agitation – a decision against which the teachers and students put up united protest.
Das, too, had faced several agitations over the past four years, forcing him on several instances to spend nights on the campus, but he never agreed to involve the police.
On Thursday, too, when union minister Babul Supriyo urged him to call in the police to stop the agitation, Das reportedly told him that he would rather resign but not involve the police.
Supriyo alleged that even the Governor had asked Das to call in the police but the V-C told him the same thing.
On Friday, while BJP state unit chief Dilip Ghosh derided Das for refusing to involve the police and demanded that the V-C should resign, the JU authority and the teachers’ association decided to stand by Das.
BJP state unit general secretary Sayantan Basu demanded that the V-C should also be arrested.
“The university believes that the campus cannot be administered with the help of police which provokes adverse implications. It was due to the pursuance of University’s teachers and employees, not the intervention of police, that led to the withdrawal of the blockade in front of His Excellency’s car on the spot,” JU registrar Snehamanju Basu said in a statement issued on Friday evening.
The registrar’s statement also condemned the manhandling of Supriyo, the blocking of the governor’s vehicle and also the vandalism on the varsity campus.
Her statement also refuted the governor on the role of the vice-chancellor.
While justifying Dhankhar’s visit to the campus, the statement issued by the Governor’s office on Friday had stated, “His visit was rendered imperative as the Vice Chancellor and the pro-Vice Chancellor had left the University while the Union Minister Babul Supriyo continued to be detained by the agitating students/persons there.”
Contradicting this, the JU registrar’s statement said, “Vice-chancellor professor Suranjan Das and pro-vice-chancellor Pradip Kumar Ghosh, both of whom tried to assuage and pacify both sides, fell ill and had to be rushed to a hospital. We wish them speedy recovery.”
Besides, the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (an organisation of all teachers of the varsity), issued a statement on Friday evening in which they expressed solidarity with the vice-chancellor.
”The role of the respected chancellor and the Governor has also left us deeply wounded at heart,” reads the statement issued by JUTA assistant secretary Partha Pratim Roy.
The statement criticised union minister Babul Supriyo for creating provocations and demanded stringent action against those involved in the vandalism of the arts faculty students’ union room.