Post-poll, JU erupts - Anti-SFI union victory rally targeted, seven students injured

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 6.04.07

The Jadavpur University (JU) campus turned into a battlefield on Thursday, as students and employees clashed after the announcement of the students’ union election results of the science and engineering faculty. At least seven students were injured.

All four seats in the union were won by the We The Independents (WTI), a non-political umbrella group opposed to the CPM-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI). The union has been under the control of anti-SFI students for the past 11 years.

WTI members, who will hand over a memorandum to registrar Rajat Bandyopadhyay demanding action against the “attackers”, lodged an FIR naming two teachers who they alleged had joined hands with non-teaching staff members in mounting an assault on a students’ procession.

Leaders of the anti-SFI camp demanded that the service of professors Dipak Kesh (mathematics) and Arghya Deb (physics) be terminated. Both teachers were unavailable for comment.

Registrar Bandyopadhyay, reportedly busy in meetings throughout the day, could not be contacted.

Soon after the election results were announced at 1.30 pm, WTI supporters took out a victory procession around the campus. Violence erupted when the march reached the Science Club, near the engineering faculty canteen and adjacent to the office of the JU Karmachari Samsad, the union of non-teaching employees loyal to the CPM.

WTI members alleged that several non-teaching staff members, along with a few teachers and some outsiders who were seen holding red flags, attacked the “peaceful” procession.

“They kicked and punched us and also assaulted us with iron rods, sticks and bricks,” said Proloy Kumar Saha, a WTI leader and outgoing general secretary of the Science Faculty Students’ Union.

“Seven students, including myself, were injured. Someshwar Chandra fractured his hand and Surajit Sarkar sustained a neck injury. Among the others injured are Sourav Guha, Prottay Banerjee, Sourabh Mitra and Suman Majumdar,” he added.

Karmachari Samsad general secretary Saugata Roy denied the WTI charge.

“The executive committee meeting of the union was in progress when the victory march came near our office. Some students from the procession ransacked the Science Club and then attacked our office,” he explained.

Dhrubajyoti Chakraborty, a member of the SFI’s Calcutta district committee, claimed: “The anti-SFI organisations at the university were trying to foment trouble over the past few days to keep our loyalists at bay, and this was the outcome. Seven of our members were injured and one has fractured two ribs.”

When contacted, superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas) S.N. Gupta said: “We will take necessary action.”