The global alumni association of IIEST Shibpur on Tuesday wrote to the institute’s director that the right to raise legitimate concerns was “sacrosanct” in a democracy.
The mail from the association’s secretary, Sitansu Sekhar Ghosh, to director Parthasarthi Chakrabarti says: “It is imperative that these (concerns) are addressed in a manner that is fair and reasonable without attempts to curtail or suppress the same.”
The association wrote the letter a day after teachers at IIEST held a protest against showcause notices that the authorities have served on some of their colleagues for a march last Wednesday with posters that had “Save IIEST” written on them.
The director met the protesting teachers on Tuesday evening to listen to their grievances.
Tapendu Mandal, secretary of the IIEST teachers’ association, said: “The director listened to our grievances on Tuesday evening and said the disputes would be resolved through dialogue. He said they are considering revocation of the showcause notices.”
Calls and text messages from this newspaper to the director went unanswered.
The teachers held a sit-in on the campus on Tuesday after class hours.
The global alumni association is called the Global Alumni Association of Bengal Engineering and Science and University (GAABESU). Besu is the former avatar of IIEST. “The recent developments in IIEST as reported in various newspapers are a matter of great concern…. In a democracy like ours, the right to voice legitimate concerns is sacrosanct…,” the letter says.
Ghosh told Metro the association find it “unjustified” that four teachers were handed showcause notices because they were part of the “Save IIEST” movement.
“The concern that the teachers raised are legitimate and the right to raise these concerns are sacrosanct. Showcausing teachers for exercising their democratic rights is unjustifiable.... Issuing the showcause letters was an undemocratic act,” he said. “The authorities should listen to what the teachers have to say.”
At IIEST, the protest by the teachers started on March 5.
That day the teachers marched across the campus with a banner that read “Save IIEST” to protest the alleged negligence of the authorities in maintaining academic and other infrastructure on the campus.
The teachers allege that infrastructure has not improved in the nine years since Besu, which was a state-aided university, was upgraded to the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), a Union education ministry-run institute. The student intake has increased many times during this period.
On April 6, four IIEST teachers were asked in a letter from the registrar to explain their alleged involvement in displaying banners in violation of an order.
The order which the showcause letter referred to was issued on February 7, 2020, days after students and teachers of the institute had organised a rally against the Centre’s proposed citizenship matrix.