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Boycott called off, fast-to-death begins - JU STUDENTS? AGITATION HITS HURDLE

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Staff Reporter   |   Published 07.06.05, 12:00 AM

The one-and-a-half-month-old movement by students of the engineering and technology faculty of Jadavpur University received a jolt on Monday, with their union deciding to backtrack from its stand of boycotting the semester examinations for a second time. The examinations are scheduled to start on June 15.

Faculty of engineering and technology students? union (Fetsu) had to call off the boycott programme as a large number of its members had expressed unwillingness to stay away from the examinations once again.

They felt that they would jeopardise their career by not appearing for the examinations for a second successive time.

The examinations had been organised at the end of April, but were boycotted by the students. It was rescheduled for June 15.

Fetsu held a series of internal meetings over the past few days to chart the course of the second phase of its movement. During the meetings, several members had reportedly refused to boycott the examinations.

The union, however, launched a fast-unto-death on Monday to protest the suspension of five senior students in April. The agitation has been organised outside the campus.

The fast was due to start on June 12 but was begun earlier. University sources said the agitation is unlikely to have the same impact, as it is being held outside the campus.

?This is the first time the students are organising a movement in front of gate no. 2 of the university. We have spoken to the local police to ensure security for the agitating students,? Ashok Nath Basu, vice-chancellor of the university, said.

Seven students are taking part in the fast. Amit Chakraborty, general secretary of Fetsu, and three of the suspended students are among the seven. Two students from the university?s arts faculty are fasting to express solidarity with the suspended students.

Fetsu had last week announced an action plan for the second phase of the movement, after the authorities refused to pay heed to their demand for withdrawal of the suspension notices against the five students.

In the action plan, Fetsu members had not only threatened to boycott the June 15 semester examinations but also announced the launch of the fast-unto-death agitation from June 12.

?After speaking to a cross-section of students, we have decided to keep the semester examination boycott programme out of the purview of our present movement. We are leaving it to the students to decide on whether they would sit for the examinations or not,? Parag Banerjee, assistant general secretary of Fetsu, said.

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