The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Regret’ buys JU peace

Calcutta, June 29: Negotiators working to crack the deadlock at Jadavpur University tasted success late tonight, setting the stage for an end to the students’ agitation that has disrupted the institution’s working for over two months.

The compromise was reached after seven hours of talks with the students agreeing to express “sincere regret” over an incident in 2003 in which some senior teachers were manhandled and abused.

Five students were suspended some two years after the incident, which triggered the protest movement by a section of students led by Fetsu.

These suspensions will be withdrawn as part of the settlement that would be ratified by the university’s executive council on July 4. Officially, the agitating students are not saying they are calling off their protest pending the ratification.

Negotiators on both sides passed separate resolutions. The students said they had expressed regret soon after the 2003 incident, which they were reaffirming. On behalf of the university, the five-member teachers’ team accepted the regret and agreed to recommend withdrawal of the suspension.

The deal was worked out after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s intervention following police action on fasting students outside the university, which drew wide criticism. For some four hours, the two sides debated the language of the students’ resolution.

Sources said the talks almost got deadlocked over certain key phrases to be used in the draft. The teachers’ team insisted on the line “we (students represented by Fetsu) express sincere regret” for the 2003 incident.

But Fetsu resisted the suggestion, pointing out that it had already expressed regret in a leaflet issued after the incident.

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