Governor speaks out on VC assault

Pro-VC allowed to go home after being held hostage for 72 hours

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 26.02.19, 12:54 PM
  • Updated 26.02.19, 12:54 PM
  • a min read
  •  
Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi Telegraph picture

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Monday said students “should not hurt or injure the vice-chancellor”, the comment coming six days after Jadavpur University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das alleged he had been assaulted by a section of students.

Tripathi, chancellor of JU and other state universities, made the statement while leaving a programme at West Bengal State University, Barasat.

“Unity is one thing and discipline on the campus is another thing. The students should behave in a disciplined manner. They should not hurt or injure the vice-chancellor,” Tripathi said.

JU pro-vice-chancellor Pradip Ghosh
JU pro-vice-chancellor Pradip Ghosh Telegraph picture

VC Das, who had to be in hospital for a couple of days after the alleged assault on on February 19, is on medical leave. According to Das, he was assaulted when he tried to pacify two warring groups of students, one of which was demanding immediate union polls and the other was rooting for installation of CCTV cameras on the campus.

Minutes before, JU’s executive council had ruled that the polls could not be held without the government’s consent, which is unlikely to come anytime soon.

With Das on leave, pro-VC Pradip Ghosh is facing the heat.

Ghosh, who is steering the university in the absence of Das, was allowed to leave the campus around 7pm on Monday after being held hostage by students demanding immediate elections for around 72 hours. “The students relented and allowed the pro-VC to go following repeated pleas from teachers,” a JU official said.

Ghosh said he had to call a doctor on Monday as he had caught a cold and was suffering from congestion.

“I am stuck in my office at the Aurobindo Bhavan (the administrative headquarters of JU) over the past three days,” Ghosh had said on Monday afternoon.

A JU official said gherao had emerged as a major problem on the campus, with Das having been held hostage at least four times.

On one occasion he had been gheraoed for 51 hours. After the siege was lifted, a group of students had on January 11, 2016, met Tripathi and pleaded with him that union polls be held by January 31. The governor’s advice to the students was: “Put exams over campus elections”.