West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Saturday called upon a section of Jadavpur University students to shun the path of gheraoing senior varsity functionaries to press for their demands. Chatterjee, when asked about a 12-hour gherao of the university’s vice chancellor, pro-VC and registrar by some engineering students last week, said the students should not resort to such forms of agitation that cause physical stress to their teachers.
“Several times in the past, I had urged a section of JU students to give up the path of gherao of their teachers, which is akin to physical torture. Students should explore other avenues and talk to us to resolve the outstanding issues,” he said. Chatterjee pointed out that Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das, Pro-VC Chiranjib Bhattacharya and Registrar Pradip Kumar Ghosh had fallen ill due to the gherao, which should have been avoided.
Abhik, a former office-bearer of the Faculty of Engineering Students and Technology Union, said, “We understand that due to the pandemic situation, authorities could not release the results on time and the on-campus activities could not start.” “But there were problems regarding the declaration of results even after 11 months, which was affecting students professionally. Engineering students urged the authorities to address the issue and they also agreed about the gravity of the situation,” he added. He said the students never gheraoed the teachers but organised sit-ins urging the authorities to discuss the issue with them to find a time-bound solution.
“Students are also staying on the campus for long hours for the academic issues that need to be addressed by ignoring health hazards due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” he said. Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das, when contacted, said he was busy in a meeting.
Goutam Maity, senior faculty member and spokesperson of the JU chapter of the All Bengal University Teachers’ Association (ABUTA), flayed the students for “physically preventing” senior varsity functionaries from leaving the meeting place and said the teachers will not be pressurised by the agitating students to ratify their demands in this way..