A file picture of cops outside a city college on students’ union election duty
Calcutta University’s failure to provide guidance to college authorities on students’ elections has led to violence on campuses, according to principals.
The authorities of several colleges told Metro that the university authorities had made no effort to prevent violence over college polls despite being alerted about the possibility.
A university source said nearly 40 of the 130-odd affiliated colleges had sought the advice from the authorities in the past few months on how to properly conduct polls without receiving any help.
“The university has no say in the rules for the college polls. The colleges have their own autonomous governing bodies that are responsible for conducting the polls peacefully,” said vice-chancellor Suranjan Das.
Some principals pointed out that while the college governing bodies were autonomous, the university authorities rang them up asking them not to hold polls without a clearance.
The principal of a college where Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad is not dominant alleged that students’ union polls were pending because of one such verbal directive from the university.
“We had sought the university’s advice last September so that the students’ polls were free and fair. The authorities are yet to suggest any step,” said another principal.
A source in a north Calcutta college said the authorities had asked for the university’s tips for holding the students’ union elections last November but did not receive a reply. After waiting two months, the college held the polls without any guidance from the university.
There was tension on the campus before and after the polls as the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad prevented SFI supporters from collecting nomination forms. Teachers were “insulted” and “harassed” by Trinamul supporters when they refused to entertain the demand that nomination papers not be issued to SFI activists. The principal was gheraoed for the same reason. Trinamul won the poll uncontested.
Several principals feel the university should immediately scrap the system of colleges holding elections following their own rules and draw up a common code.The spectre of violence on campuses had prompted the university authorities late last year to seek the opinion of the advocate-general on what their roles should be regarding students’ elections. The advocate-general had advised the university to wait for the verdicts in the handful of cases related to campus polls pending in court, said an official.
Some principals said the university had sent them a copy of the advocate-general’s advice in response to their letters seeking guidance.