Jadavpur University sit-in lifted after university authorities assure of action

KOLKATA: The sit-in by Jadavpur University students was lifted shortly after midnight today with the university authorities agreeing to form a panel that would communicate to the state government the concerns of students over a bill that effectively dissolves students’ unions.

The members of Arts’ Faculty Students’ Union and Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students Union (FETSU) had been picketing outside the administrative building since 4 pm on Monday to protest against the provisions of the bill.

Somasree Choudhury, a leader of Arts Faculty Students’ Union (AFSU), told PTI that the 31-hour-long sit-in was lifted around 1am today after the Vice Chancellor (VC) gave an assurance in writing to the students that a committee will be formed by 3pm today on the university campus.

When contacted, VC Suranjan Das said, “Yes, a meeting has been called to form a committee at noon today and the pro-VC will be there along with Executive Council members, students’ union representatives and teaching and non-teaching staff representatives.”

A senior Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) member said the authorities had yesterday said they will take measures to communicate the views and concerns of students over formation of a council, which can render the democratically elected unions defunct, and seek extension of the January 31 deadline for dissolving students’ bodies.

“The VC has told the agitating students – belonging to AFSU, FETSU, DSO and others – that steps to form a committee, comprising all stakeholders of the institution, will be initiated at today’s meeting at 3 pm,” the JUTA member said.

It was also decided at the meeting that the university, being a centre of excellence, will have its own ‘model’, he said.

Also Read : Jadavpur University students protest over bill on students unions

“We need not be asked to follow the model of some other higher institutions,” he added.

The agitating students have been demanding a dialogue with the government for immediate revocation of the bill. The provision in the West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill 2017, against which the students have been protesting, will enable the state government to prescribe rules and procedures for conducting campus elections.

It was passed in the state Assembly in February 2017. In August too, the students had organised sit-ins for over 30 hours to protest against the bill.