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Only talk, no action at college meeting

An emergency meeting of teachers, employees and the governing body president of Seth Anandaram Jaipuria College (Night) on Saturday discussed the harassment and humiliation of the principal by Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad supporters but not a word was uttered condemning the incident.

The meeting was convened by the president of the college governing body and a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, Ashim Banerjee.

“Those who had called the meeting just heard about the incident and asked us to work in close co-operation to maintain the reputation of the college. But no resolution was taken condemning it. I fail to understand how the college’s reputation can be maintained by downplaying a shameful incident,” said a teacher who attended the meeting.

Members of the college student union had gheraoed the principal, Ashok Mukhopadhyay, for over four hours on Thursday night and forced him to withdraw the rustication order of the assistant general secretary of the union who had been caught on camera assaulting a guard.

The protesters had also demanded that the principal reveal the names of the teachers and other employees who had complained against the union leader.

Trinamul Chhatra Parishad state president Shanku Panda dissolved the college’s union soon after the gherao but the student leader accused of assaulting the guard, Rahul Shaw, was present in the union room throughout Saturday, raising questions about how much Panda’s move would achieve.

Panda argued Shaw had not been suspended from the student body and so he could visit the union room, adding that he had been stripped of power to take any decision on behalf of the union.

“We would soon elect the new office-bearers. The unit had been dissolved as it did not take permission from the state leadership before staging the agitation. If Shaw is seen leading any agitation in future, he would be suspended from the party,” Panda said.

The principal was asked during Saturday’s meeting why he had rusticated Shaw without showcausing him and why he changed the decision, sources said.

“There was no acknowledgement of the pressure under which the principal changed his decision. Mukhopadhyay should have been encouraged to proceed with the rustication order he had issued on August 13. Now that the Trinamul unit has been dissolved, it should be easier to execute the rustication order,” said another teacher who attended the meeting.

Asked if there had been any proposal condemning the incident and if he would go ahead with the rustication order, Mukhopadhyay said, “I have nothing to say.”

Banerjee, too, declined comment after the meeting.

The trouble had begun on August 12 with an altercation between some Trinamul supporters and a guard who refused to allow the students to enter the campus through the main gate, which had been kept shut because a CU Part I examination was on till 5pm.

The students were asked to use a smaller side gate to enter the campus.