Updated: May 17, 2021 9:45:37 pm
VETERAN JOURNALIST Saroj Tripathi, a former student activist and one of the leading figures in the student takeover of the Bombay University campus in August 1978, passed away on Monday.
Tripathi, who retired from Hindi daily Navbharat Times over seven years ago, was admitted to a private hospital in Mira Road after he tested positive for Covid-19. Over the past few days, his condition worsened and he was put on a ventilator. He died after suffering from multiple organ complications.
Tripathi (65) was known for being part of the students’ movement, which arose during the post-Emergency days in then Bombay over a fee hike announced by the university. The university had announced over 50 per cent fee hike, which had led to protests by students, including Tripathi, who was then studying law in Government Law College. He was then part of the Student Anti-Fee Rise Action Committee, which along with other groups, had “taken over” the university’s Fort campus on August 8, 1978.
The students locked themselves on the campus and declared Tripathi as their vice-chancellor. He took over the VC’s chair and passed decisions, including scrapping the fee hike, concessions to students who could not afford to pay fees and dismissal of three principals. The students left the campus by evening, but Tripathi faced action subsequently.
“He faced the brunt of being rusticated and his degrees were suspended by the university. He was compelled to complete his law from Pune. The irony is that eventually he became a visiting faculty teaching history and journalism to students of the university. He also became the director of the Garware Institute, part of the Mumbai University,” said President of the Mumbai Press Club Gurbir Singh, who was also part of the students’ movement, along with Tripathi.
Singh added that Tripathi had received more than six MA degrees and also practised law, specialising in constitutional law before working as a journalist. As a reporter with Navbharat Times, his expertise remained in covering law, including proceedings of the Bombay High Court.
He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.
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