Strike fizzles out on JU campus - SFI at Writers' with assault complaints, pledged drastic steps
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- Published 10.04.07
|(Top): Professor Supriya Chaudhuri takes a class in her office at Jadavpur University. (Above): An SFI activist drums up support for the strike on Monday. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya|
Jadavpur University (JU) defied the students’ strike on Monday, called by the SFI to protest vandalism on the campus on the night of April 5. Elsewhere in the city, classes were disrupted on campuses where the SFI controls the students’ union.
SFI supporters at JU could not prevent classes from being held, despite attempts at convincing students to join the protest. The bandh-supporters even tried to form a barricade at one of the gates, but police deployed outside the campus were quick to disperse them.
Members of the SFI state committee met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings in the afternoon and sought his intervention in restoring normalcy at JU, on the boil since We the Independents (WTI) swept the science faculty election.
In their memorandum to the chief minister, the leaders alleged that two supporters were beaten up at JU and five at Jogesh Chandra College. “The chief minister promised drastic steps to restore a democratic atmosphere at JU,” said Apurba Chatterjee, SFI state secretary.
At Medical College and Hospital, SFI supporters tried to close a classroom but were outnumbered by students wanting to attend class.
Most classes were suspended at Calcutta University. At Presidency College, 10-odd SFI supporters put up posters and shouted slogans, but classes were held as usual.
Members of the JU Karmachari Sansad, observing an indefinite ceasework demanding arrest of those who had ransacked their office on April 5, refused to unlock the classrooms. But that had little effect, as teachers opted to take classes in their offices.
By 11 am, the 100-odd SFI supporters trying to enforce the bandh seemed to have lost steam, as representatives of the students’ unions of all three faculties arranged for the classrooms to be opened.
The Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association organised a sit-in on the campus in support of two of their colleagues accused of beating up WTI members, but only 100 of the 1,000-plus teachers could be seen at the venue.
The SFI supporters quit the university gates by noon, but announced in the evening that they would hold a rally on the campus on Tuesday.
Students, teachers and non-teaching staff members of other institutions have been invited to the meeting. Students expressed fear that outsiders are being brought in only to assault anti-SFI students.