March 30: Activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the CPM’s student wing, allegedly heckled Vidyasagar University vice-chancellor Anandadeb Mukherjee on Friday and tried to prevent him from entering his office.
The SFI had called a students’ strike on the university campus in Midnapore town that day to condemn US aggression on Iraq. Activists enforcing the strike reportedly prevented Mukherjee from entering his office and heckled him when he protested against their “high-handedness”.
Pointing out that they were observing a students’ strike, Mukherjee asked the SFI members why they were stopping him from attending office. Some of the activists abused and heckled him, but finally relented and allowed him to attend office.
Stung by the humiliation, Mukherjee narrated the incident to chancellor Viren J. Shah and higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty and left the campus for Digha to attend a meeting of the Digha Development Authority (DDA), of which he is the chairman.
Mukherjee returned to his Calcutta house from Digha and did not go to the university on Saturday. His absence from the university for two consecutive days led to rumours that he had quit in a huff.
Contacted at his Calcutta residence this evening, Mukherjee said: “I am going to the campus tomorrow and will let you know everything.”
Mukherjee is not new to the situation. Two years ago, he was heckled in his university chamber by SFI activists, who were demanding that he fill up some non-teaching posts. He refused to relent and discharged his duties from his Calcutta house. He returned to the university after SFI honchos forced the activists to apologise.