|Students drape principal Ashok Mukhopadhyay with a CPM flag during the protest at Seth Anandaram Jaipuria College’s evening section; a protester bangs his head on the principal’s desk. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)
Calcutta, Aug. 14: Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad supporters gheraoed the principal of Seth Anandaram Jaipuria College’s evening section for almost four hours till 11 tonight, demanding names of teachers and non-teaching staff who lodged a complaint against one of them for assaulting a security guard of the institution.
“We will thrash each of them once we get the names,” a student leader thundered. They banged on the principal’s table and one of them draped Ashok Mukhopadhyay in a CPM flag as he stood with his head bowed in humiliation in a room where some 50 students hurled abuses at him for almost four hours.
The Trinamul student leaders persisted with their demand even after the principal wrote an apology for rusticating one of its leaders who had been found guilty of assaulting the guard. CCTV footage had shown Rahul Shaw assaulting the guard, teachers said.
Trinamul runs the student union at Jaipuria’s evening section and the college governing body is headed by party MLA Shashi Panja.
When police escorted principal Mukhopadhyay out of the premises at 11pm, he was still too scared to speak. “There is a meeting on Saturday,” is all he said.
The officers in charge of four police stations were at the college with their forces and the deputy commissioner of police (north), Bastab Baidya, was co-ordinating from Shyampukur police station. But none of them intervened in the absence of express instructions from the principal.
Mukhopadhyay had earlier incurred Trinamul’s wrath for allegedly not doing their bidding during admissions.
The gherao ended minutes after TMCP state president Shanku Deb Panda distanced the union from the agitation and said: “We are dissolving our student unit at the college.”
The students had started the gherao at 7.15pm, demanding the withdrawal of the rustication of Rahul, the assistant general secretary of the students’ union (evening section).
After the CCTV footage showed Rahul assaulting the guard near the college gate on August 12, he was rusticated on the basis of a unanimous resolution adopted at a meeting of teachers and non-teaching employees. The principal issued the order on Wednesday.
Once the TMCP members got to know of the order to rusticate Rahul, they started agitating in the principal’s room. Later, it turned into a gherao.
“You have to withdraw the order to rusticate Rahul,” around 30 students kept shouting inside Mukhopadhyay’s room. They kept banging on the table. A few students even slit their hands to put pressure on the principal to revoke the order.
Mukhopadhyay had no alternative but to give in to their demand.
Around 9.30pm, he issued a letter revoking Rahul’s rustication. “I withdraw the rustication of Rahul Shaw, and share the agony of the students for which (I) apologise,” the letter mentions.
The students then wanted to see the complaint letter the principal received against the accused student. “Show us the letter. Give us the names of the people who have signed the letter,” several students chorused.
“Shob kota ke dhore dhore marbo (We will thrash each one of them),” one of them said.
The trouble started on August 12 evening following an altercation between some TMCP supporters and the security guard over not allowing the students to enter the campus through the main gate.
The Part-I examinations of Calcutta University are in progress and the paper that was scheduled on August 12 was supposed to continue till 5pm.
A senior teacher said that normally, for security reasons, the main gate of the college is opened an hour after an exam ends.
On August 12, the main gate was supposed to be kept closed till 6pm and students were asked to use the small side gate to enter the campus.
An eyewitness said the students insisted the security guard, who was on duty at the main gate, let them in through the main gate.
An altercation ensued when the guard refused and Rahul pushed him. As the guard fell down, Rahul tried to hit him.
BEd probe order
Calcutta High Court today directed the National Council for Teachers’ Education (NCTE) to conduct a probe into the alleged cash-for-seats scam at Bhaktabala BEd College in Nadia and file a report in a sealed cover on September 15.
“The allegations appear to be serious and there should be a probe in this regard. The NCTE should be the appropriate authority to conduct the probe,” Justice Dipankar Dutta said. “It is the discretion of the NCTE whether it constitutes a team or a one-man committee.”