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‘Rescued’ by police, JU V-C claims he was abused by students

Students were protesting outside the V-C’s office demanding probe into the alleged molestation of a student

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: September 18, 2014 1:35:41 am

Protests by Jadavpur University students on the campus followed by their arrests late Tuesday night have sparked allegations from both students as well as the vice-chancellor.

The students were protesting outside the V-C’s office, demanding a probe into the alleged molestation of a student on August 28 by her seniors.

V-C Abhijit Chakraborty, who is said to have called the police after students gheraoed his office, said the students abused him and pulled at him even when he was being escorted out. The V-C along with other professors was  reportedly confined to his office for nearly 12 hours.

Thirty-six students were arrested when the police reached the campus to break up their protest and “rescue” the V-C. The students were released on bail on Wednesday  morning.

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The students claimed they were manhandled by the police. “There were a couple of woman constables but we were grabbed and groped by male constables who dragged us out in an obscene manner,” said a student who had filed an FIR at the Jadavpur Police Station, against four unidentified men.

Other students said they had requested the V-C to keep the probe in the molestation case on the main agenda of the ongoing Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) meeting instead of making in as one of the miscellaneous items.

“All we wanted was an impartial investigation by an external body but the V-C did not give us any assurance. So, we decided to stage a sit-in demonstration, which turned into a gherao when the V-C refused to issue a statement,” said Disha Roychowdhury, one of the protesters and a first-year student, who was allegedly beaten up by plainclothesmen.

She also said the allegation that all professors were forced into confinement was wrong “We had let out four professors who weren’t feeling well.”

At 11 pm Tuesday night, a group of policemen, including senior officers of Lalbazar had a conversation with the protestors at the university campus, and left. “Later, at about 2 am, a large posse of policemen — some in plain clothes — came and escorted the V-C out of the campus, beating up students at random. While we were protesting, the lights of the university went out,  and we were beaten up like rogues. They looked more like bouncers than policemen. They were carrying sticks and thrashed us,” said a third-year student of comparative literature.

Seven injured students had to be taken to hospital.

However, the V-C maintained he was the one who was victimised. “I had called the police as I felt very insecure and when the police were escorting me out, the students tried to pull me away and abused me in filthy language. It was the police who was assaulted. There were many outsiders among the so-called protestors,” Chakraborty said.

“There were about 40 professors and Executive Committee and ICC members when the incident happened,” he added.

Police denied the allegations levelled by the students. “There were over 30 woman constables. When a person like JU V-C calls up to say he was feeling insecure and asks us to rescue him, we will have to act the way we did,” said a police officer.

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