Jadavpur University students' union members reject V-C's call to end hunger strike until admission procedures reconsidered
Somashree Choudhury, the chairperson of AFSU, said the indefinite strike by the 20 students of the arts faculty would continue till the time the authorities of Jadavpur University consider their decision.
Kolkata: Jadavpur University Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das on Mondy met members of a students' union, observing hunger strike over the past three days in protest against the new admission procedure, and urged them to withdraw their stir.
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) started a hunger strike on 6 July, 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. Despite requests by Das, the union members Monday refused to call off their strike.
Somashree Choudhury, the chairperson of AFSU, said the indefinite strike by the 20 students of the arts faculty would continue till the time the authorities consider 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. The VC, on his part, said he had met Governor KN Tripathi, who is also the Chancellor of the university, and efforts were being made to reach a middle-path, acceptable to all parties concerned.
Das, who was accompanied by Pro-VC Pradip Ghosh, said the university will take every step to monitor the health condition of the students, who had been sitting on hunger strike over the issue. He also suggested them to use a room in the administrative building for their protest instead of camping out in the open, next to Aurobindo Bhavan. Meanwhile, joining their colleagues from three other humanities streams, 12 teachers of the philosophy department today refused to lend a helping hand in the admission procedure.
In a letter sent to JU authorities, the teachers said, "We state that if our assistance in any form regarding BA admission of this year is solicited, we will be unable to cooperate unless the stake of teachers of the faculty of arts is reinstated by a written statement." "If the administration does not involve the teachers in the admission test, then the teachers cannot be a part of the admission process in any way at all," they added. Earlier, the faculty members from departments of English, comparative literature, and international relations had said that they prefer to stay out of the entire admission process.
A spokesperson of Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) said a letter has been sent to Tripathi to seek his appointment for discussing the modalities of the issue, but no response has arrived from Raj Bhavan so far. The VC, too, has written to Tripathi with details of events unfolding at the university in the wake of the recent decision and subsequent agitation by the students, a university official told PTI.
On 4 July, an hour after the decision to scrap entrance tests was announced, the students gheraoed the VC and other members of the executive council in protest. The gherao, which lasted for 30 hours, was followed by JUTA cease work, class boycott and indefinite fast by AFSU members.
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