KOLKATA: West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who is also Chancellor of the Jadavpur University (JU), today expressed concern over the health of the students, who had been observing hunger strike over the past three days in protest against the institute's new admission procedure.
In a statement issued by Raj Bhavan, the governor appealed to the students to withdraw their hunger strike and restore normalcy in the university.
"The governor is concerned about the high reputation of the university as also the well-being and health of the students of the university, who are on hunger strike," the official said.
Earlier in the day, university Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das, too met, the agitating students, urging them to call off their hunger strike.
Das insisted that it was his job to implement the orders of the university's executive council, the highest decision-making body of the institute, but he was "willing to look for a solution" keeping the interest of students in mind.
"So long I am occupying the VC's chair, I have to go by the decision taken by meeting of EC. What I feel about the issue at a personal level doesn't matter. However, I do have the interest of students in mind," he said.
Around 20 members of Arts Faculty Students' Union (AFSU) have been observing hunger strike since July 6, two days after the university announced that it would admit undergraduate students in English, comparative literature, Bengali, history, political science and philosophy on the basis of board marks, reversing its earlier decision to hold entrance tests.
AFSU chairperson Somashree Choudhury, after the meeting with Das, said the indefinite strike by the 20 students of the arts faculty would continue till the time the authorities reconsider their decision.
"We heard what the VC said, but there was no assurance from his side. The turn of events over the admission issue in past couple of days has only harmed JU's reputation. This can be restored by bringing back the admission test," she said.
Last week, Das had met Tripathi at Raj Bhavan to discuss modalities in connection with the impasse.
The VC said that efforts were being made to reach a middle-path, acceptable to all parties concerned, in consultation with the governor.
He also wrote to the governor about the events that had been unfolding at JU in the wake of the recent decision, a university official said.
The statement issued today by Raj Bhavan said that Tripathi has "replied to the letter of the Vice-Chancellor on the issues involved" in the standoff.
JU has been embroiled in controversies since July 4, when the executive council announced its decision to scrap entrance tests for the six subjects.
An hour after the announcement, the students gheraoed the VC and other members of the executive council to protest the move.
The gherao, which lasted for 30 hours, was followed by JUTA cease work, class boycott and indefinite fast by AFSU members.