Calcutta University Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das on Friday urged the state to take action against Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) activists who allegedly assaulted varsity professors, saying it will be tough for him to continue as V-C if action was not taken on the report he had submitted to the government.
“I have submitted a compact report regarding the incident to the education minister. In my confidential report, I have clearly stated what happened on that fateful day, who got assaulted and who were involved in the assault. I have clearly said that if action is not taken, then it will be a problem for me to continue as a V-C and that will hamper governance,” Das said.
On Thursday, the V-C had defined the incident as “a clash between two fighting groups”. Claiming that it was a “wrong choice of words”, Das said: “I was silent that day because I didn’t want to comment before submitting a report to the education minister but my silence should never be interpreted as if I am supporting the attack on students.”
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The V-C’s comments come in the backdrop of the uproar over the assault on CU professors on Wednesday. “If you see the video footage, I was there to save my colleagues when they were attacked. I tried my best to stop it. If I am not saying anything, that doesn’t mean that I am silent, my actions speak louder than words,” said Das.
Asked why is he not naming the culprits who were behind the attack, Das said: “In my confidential report, I have stated each and every fact as it happened. So, it will not be appropriate for me to speak in public about it.”
When asked why he went to meet the state education minister as he was the head of an autonomous body, Das said the university Chancellor was not in Kolkata on that day. “The education minister rang me up and asked me to give a report. Shall I not give it? Autonomy should be there. I tried to maintain it,” the V-C said.
“If the Chancellor were in town, I would go to him. I have sought appointment with the Chancellor and will give the report to him as well,” he added.
Meanwhile, the professors who were assaulted, on Friday met state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee. The meeting – which began at 1 pm and lasted till 2.20 pm – however, failed to resolve the stalemate.
“He gave us a patient hearing but has not reacted officially. He said he has had a word with the vice-chancellor yesterday and will speak to him tomorrow again. After that he will let us know about any decision through the V-C,” said Dibyendu Pal, a professor who attended the meeting.
Sources said Chatterjee asked the professors to lift their sit-in demonstration – which began on June 29 – against the abolishment of the post of financial officer (FO) and demanded reinstatement of Harisadhan Ghosh, who was recently removed as FO on corruption charges.
“We told him that the demonstration was being held between 12 pm to 4 pm and it was not hampering our duties. If the V-C asks us to do something, we will do that as well,” said a professor. The sit-in demonstration will continue as usual from Monday, sources said.
TMCP leader Sourav Adhikary, under whom the attack allegedly took place, also met Chatterjee.
Trinamool MP Sugato Bose while describing the incident as “unfortunate and a blot”, said it should not have happened. “I have expressed my concern to the education minister and he said he would take appropriate steps in this regard. Students should always respect teachers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said Partha Chatterjee should step down as the state education minister if he fails to clear the university campuses of “unruly” elements. “If the state education minister fails to deliver and ensure that the education campuses are free of unruly elements, he should better leave his job. He should tell the CM he is unable to perform and he be shifted to some other ministry,” Bose told reporters.