KOLKATA: Kolkata’s Jadavpur University has erupted again, this time over state administration’s decision to do away with elections in students’ unions in government-run institutes.
Fearing that the state would nominate loyal representatives to the students’ bodies after doing away with student union elections in colleges of West Bengal, Jadavpur University students have confined their vice-chancellor, registrar and other officials in their offices since Thursday afternoon.
The Mamata Banerjee government brought a notification in June stating that elections to students union would be done away with in all government-run institutes. Instead, representatives would be nominated to the body. Also, students would not be able to use the banner of political parties.
However, protesting students who are staging a sit-in outside the VC office, fear that the state would nominate their loyal representatives to the students’ body. They are also decrying the move as an attack on democracy.
“Being a state university, Jadavpur University has to abide by the rules of the West Bengal government,” vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said.
The agitating students have also demanded that the Executive Council, which is highest decision making body of the university, oppose the move and support the students.
Students of Presidency College also joined the movement with Jadavpur University by staging a demonstration at their campus on Friday against state’s move to do away with students’ election.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee allayed the fears of the students over their say in the students’ bodies. “The student councils will have the same powers as that of the student unions. I don’t see any point in the agitation. It should stop,” he said.
Jadavpur University had led Hok Kolorob movement in 2014 and 2015 which erupted over an alleged molestation inside the campus and was fueled by police action. The agitation later spread to various campuses throughout the country.