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Jadavpur University sit-in over students' unions lifted after authorities agree to form panel to address concerns

Kolkata: The sit-in by Jadavpur University students was lifted shortly after midnight on Wednesday with the 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 provisions in the West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulation) Bill 2017, passed in February last year, enables the state government to prescribe rules and procedures for conducting campus elections.

 Jadavpur University sit-in over students unions lifted after authorities agree to form panel to address concerns

File image of Jadavpur University. Wikimedia Commons

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 bill.

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

When contacted, V-C Suranjan Das said, "Yes, a meeting has been called to form a committee at noon today and the pro-V-C 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 31 January deadline for dissolving students' bodies.

"The V-C 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 Wednesday'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.

"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 seeking immediate revocation of the bill.

In 2017, in August, the students had organised similar sit-in for over 30 hours to protest against the bill.

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Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 13:17:10 IST