Jadavpur University erupts again, vice chancellor gheraoed
The students of Jadavpur University gheraoed vice chancellor Abhijit Chakraborty on Monday evening for about an hour and a half, stoking the dying embers of their agitation once again.
More than 100 students from all departments of the campus, science, arts and engineering, blocked the path of the VC when he was stepping out of his office at 5 pm, demanding that he should answer a few questions before leaving the campus.
As the VC looked visibly uncomfortable, the students shouted out the questions - why did he seek police help on the night of September 16, and why is he still clinging on to his post?
A stupefied Chakraborty did not answer the students and went back to his office. He was allowed to leave his office at 6:30pm.
"We will decide the next course of action in an all-faculty general body meeting on Tuesday afternoon," said Biswajit Pramanik, an MPhil first year student of women's studies.
Though the agitators refused to describe the agitation as a gherao, it was evident that the act had infused life into the agitation that appeared to be dying out.
As Chakraborty retreated into his office, outside the students continued shouting slogans against him, most of which demanded his resignation.
"We did not block his way. We just wanted him to answer some questions," Jubi Saha, one of the agitating students of the engineering stream, told HT.
Though the student agitation suddenly got a new lease of life, during the day, protests continued to simmer in the campus. Members of Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) staged a demonstration on the campus by forming a human chain, seeking the VC's resignation.
This was the second day Chakraborty entered his office since he was appointed the permanent VC at the beginning of October. On Friday, too, he had faced protests and barracking from students, though none blocked his way.
On September 16, a gherao of the VC's office led to the assault on students at the dead of night. The incident unleashed a wave of protests that drew a few faces of the city's civil society too in its fold.
Since then, most of the teachers and students are bent on getting the VC to resign and the campus has been in a pandemonium. Classes have started last week but informally. Teachers took classes on the fields and staircases, without registering attendance.
"We not only condemn the lathi charge on the students but also allege the VC has maligned the institute itself by making false allegations against the students," JUTA general secretary Nilanjana Gupta said before the gherao.
Meanwhile, students of other institutes took out a rally on College Street in north Kolkata in support of the JU students' movement. This rally was also a celebration of one month of the massive September 20 public rally demanding Chakraborty's resignation.