Students of the engineering and technology faculty at Jadavpur University have raised the banner for an indefinite strike from Wednesday, after five senior students of the department were expelled.
The executive council, the university's apex decision-making body, met on Tuesday and decided on the expulsion.
'An inquiry commission set up to probe an agitation initiated by the students in September 2003 submitted its report to the executive council today. Based on its recommendations, the council took the decision to expel the five students,' a senior member of the executive council said, on condition of anonymity.
Of the five, Arnab Roychoudhury and Satadal Chakraborty are final-year students who have already secured placements after campus inter- views, and are waiting to clear the semester tests before starting their professional careers. The other three ' Sudipta Sarkar, Samrat Roychoudhury and Arun Kumar Majumdar ' are third-year students.
Immediately after the council decision, the faculty of engineering and technology students' union (Fetsu) declared an indefinite strike and threatened to boycott the upcoming semester exams, scheduled to commence from April 25.
Senior officials of the university refused to comment on the expulsions.
'The careers of the students will be jeopardised by such a drastic step. Moreover, the inquiry commission did not recommend expulsion. We have gone through a copy of the report and there is no mention of it. The executive council has taken this decision unilaterally,' alleged Amit Chakraborty, Fetsu general secretary. 'From Wednesday, we will boycott classes. We will also seek the cooperation of the students of other faculties.'
In September 2003, the university's examination procedure had sparked an agitation. Later, the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (Juta) had extended its support to the students' movement.
The students had resorted to violence challenging the examination system and alleging victimisation. A section of them had gheraoed the faculty council while it was in the midst of a meeting.
Over the weeks, there were more incidents of campus violence, with rival Students' Federation of India bringing in outsiders and beating up the students. The registrar's room had also been ransacked. The inquiry commission was formed to defuse tension.