Twenty days after an incident of molestation was reported in Jadavpur University, four days after police allegedly assaulted students protesting against authorities’ inaction in the issue and a day after thousands of students hit Calcutta streets to make themselves heard, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Sunday afternoon met the family of the victim of alleged molestation.
Accompanied by Trinamool Chhatra Parishad president Shankudev Ponda, Chatterjee spent about an hour speaking to the victim’s family.
The victim’s family members declined to divulge the details of the conversation, but said Chatterjee had asked about the girl’s health and had asked why she felt insecure. They added that Chatterjee wanted to know why the victim’s family was not happy with the investigation being carried out by the internal complaints committee of the university.
Adding to the mounting pressure on the state government, members of West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA) organised a procession on Sunday. “We took out the procession from Dakshinapan at Dhakuria to 8B bus Stand at Jadavpur. JU professors, along with professors of other colleges, some ex-V-Cs and former lecturers participated in the procession. Besides resignation of the V-C, we also demand a departmental inquiry into the alleged molestation and police crackdown and all offenders should be booked,” said Tarun Patra, vice president, WBCUTA.
Protesting students, who met West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi on Saturday, said a decision on lifting class boycott on the campus would be taken at a meeting on Monday. “There will be a general body meet on tomorrow (Monday) which would see participation from JU students as well as representatives of different colleges which took part in the procession on Saturday. Our next course of action would be decided in that meeting,” said a second year postgraduate student of English.
Meanwhile, a group of protesting students have chosen Gandhigiri over outrage.
The students went to meet V-C Abhijit Chakraborty at his Salt Lake residence with a flower bouquet and a get well soon card. Although they could not meet the V-C, they left the card and flowers at his doorstep. “We have given him 40 roses today, 37 for the number of students who had been arrested and three for the three students who had to be hospitalised after being beaten up by the police. He is unable to come to the university and we understand he is not well. We want the V-C to be fit soon and return to the university to tender his resignation,” said one of the students.
Chakraborty, when contacted said, “I was in the bath when they had come so I could not meet them. They left flowers and a card. I have not read the entire content but from what I have gathered they have wished me a speedy recovery.”
To counter the pressure the mass protest has created on the state government and Jadavpur University administration, the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad has decided to take out a procession on Monday. “We will take out the procession tomorrow to send out the message that the protests following the incident have been highly politicised and it is not the right kind of students’ politics. A handful of students who have been instigated by different Opposition parties have made it a political issue to malign the education system of the state,” said TMCP president Shankudev Ponda.