JU students end gherao; to meet Guv with VC tomorrow

Kolkata: Following an assurance by West Bengal Governor and Jadavpur University’s Chancellor K N Tripathi, agitating students tonight ended their three-day long gherao of Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das, who got unwell after staying confined to his office, and other officials.

A spokesperson of the agitating students said they will go to meet the Chancellor at Raj Bhavan tomorrow along with the VC and other officials to discuss the issue of holding students union elections.

Earlier in the evening, Das felt unwell after staying confined to his office room for the third consecutive day but refused to go home as the protesting students had asked him to walk upon their bodies in order to leave.

Das said he was suffering from diabetes and blood pressure fluctuation and, therefore, needed rest.

“But I cannot go home because they are like my children and sitting on a demonstration. They have said I can leave but they will lie down on the path and I would have to walk upon their bodies. I cannot do that,” the VC said.

Besides him, Registrar Pradip Ghosh and other officials were under gherao by the protesting students, who have been demanding that the authorities announce a date for holding the student union elections.

The higher education department had recently issued an advisory to the state-run university asking it not to hold elections to students’ union in February to avoid any disturbance during exams of different boards.

The election was supposed to be held in that month.

“The VC has passed the ball to the Chancellor’s court saying it depends on him,” the protesters maintained.

Squatting inside the administrative building Aurobindo Bhawan, the students had been shouting slogans and raising placards to press their demands.

In 2014, Das’s predecessor Abhijit Chakrabarti was gheraoed over demand for a fresh probe panel in the alleged sexual harassment of a girl student. Fearing threat to life, he called police inside the campus which created a huge furore and Chakrabarti was forced to resign.

Similarly, in 2013, Shouvik Bhattacharyya was gheraoed by students for 51 hours when he was the VC. He resigned a month later and shifted to IIT Kharagpur.