Thursday, September 21, 2023

JU students on hunger strike, reject appeal for talks

Himalayan Paths

Kolkata, Jan 6 (IANS) A section of Jadavpur University students, who launched a fast-unto-death late Monday night to press for the removal of vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti, rejected the registrar’s appeal to initiate a discussion Tuesday.

As many as 11 students began the hunger strike at 10 p.m. Monday in front of the administrative building. They covered themselves with blankets, camping out in the wintry night.

“The registrar had approached us for talks but we have already stated what our demands are. There is no point in talks unless our demands are met. We will carry on with the hunger strike till they agree,” Gitasri Sarkar of the students’ union of the varsity told IANS.

Students from other universities lent support to their agitation Tuesday morning.

The students have been clamouring for Chakrabarti’s removal since Sep 17 when the university authorities ordered a police crackdown on a sit-in by students demanding an independent investigation into the alleged molestation of a female student inside a hostel.

The incident triggered protest rallies in the city and had a ripple effect across the country, with college alumni organising protest marches in Delhi and Mumbai.

Many students also boycotted the 59th annual convocation of the university in December last year.

The agitation brought together the Kolkata diaspora and university alumni in solidarity through social networking websites.

Amid the clamour for his removal, Chakrabarti, who was the interim vice chancellor, was given full time responsibility by Governor K.N. Tripathi, who is the ex-officio chancellor.

The state government later instituted a five-member probe panel headed by University of Calcutta vice chancellor Suranjan Das to look into the prima facie evidence of the alleged molestation.

Two university students and an alumnus were arrested and subsequently released on bail.

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