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BEd college students allege threat calls

Bhaktabala BEd College

June 26: Some of the 39 students who had been admitted beyond the sanctioned strength at Bhaktabala BEd College in Nadia today said they were threatened over phone against meeting the Jadavpur University interim vice-chancellor, who is probing the cash-for-seats allegation.

At least six students The Telegraph spoke to said callers identifying themselves as Trinamul workers threatened them a few hours before Abhijit Chakrabarti, the Jadavpur University interim VC, visited the college around 11am yesterday.

The Trinamul Chhatra Parishad’s Nadia unit president, Ayan Dutta, said the party had nothing to do with the alleged calls. “No one from the TMCP made any such call. The charges are absolutely baseless.”

Chakrabarti, who has been asked by the government to submit a report on the alleged cash-for-seats scam within a week, had met Kalyani University vice-chancellor Rattan Lal Hangloo and other varsity officials yesterday.

Declining to be identified, a student of the Nadia college said today: “I received a threat call on my cellphone yesterday…. The caller identified himself as a Trinamul worker and told me not to meet Chakrabarti during his visit to the college.”

The student added: “The caller warned me that if I meet Chakrabarti, I won’t be allowed to write the BEd exams.”

The five other students made the same allegation. They said they too were warned that their chances of appearing for the BEd exams would be in jeopardy if they met Chakrabarti.

The Jadavpur interim VC could not be contacted.

After the alleged cash-for-seats scandal surfaced, Kalyani University de-affiliated Bhaktabala BEd College and initially disallowed the 39 students from appearing for the exams, scheduled for July 7. The varsity, however, has decided to allow the students to write the exams on “humanitarian grounds”.

In letters to vice-chancellor Hangloo, 32 of the 39 students had said they had paid between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1.60 lakh for admission to unauthorised seats. The students had named Tanmay Acharya, the general secretary of the Kalyani University union led by the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad, and Amar Biswas, the secretary of the college governing body, among others.

Acharya did not take calls today.

The students who were allegedly threatened against meeting Chakrabarti said they did not complain to police fearing retribution.

“We don’t want to take chances. Although we have the numbers from where the threat calls were made, we don’t want to lodge any complaint with the police because we could be targeted. As it is, the TMCP has started harassing us by lodging a fake complaint against Saheb Sheikh,” said one of the students.

Sheikh, a former SFI leader at a Krishnagar college, is one of the 39 students against whom district TMCP president Dutta has lodged a police complaint, accusing him of influencing other students to write to Hangloo against Acharya to malign the Trinamul government.

Sheikh has denied the charge.