Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners(WB Branch)
Press Statement — 17 September, 2014
We are deeply shocked at the police action last night against the students who were on a peaceful sit-in demonstration inside Jadavpur University campus. For the last few days, students of Jadavpur University have been protesting against the way JU administration has been handling the issue of the alleged molestation of a girl student inside the campus during fest on 28 August. One lady member of the Internal Complaints Committee(ICC) probing into it reportedly asked objectionable questions to the victim which was condemned by the agitating students. They demanded the removal of two lady members from the team and inclusion of two external juries in the probe team comprising a lawyer and a psychologist—a demand that was turned down by Mr. Abhijit Chakraborty, the interim Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University. Instead, the JU authorities released a ‘code of conduct’ and declared the formation of a new group meant for surveillance inside the campus. This infuriated the students and the sit-in-demonstration was converted into a gherao of the members when the meeting of the JU Executive Council(EC) was on. It is reported that although some members of the EC were against police intervention, the interim Vice- Chancellor sought police action to break the demonstration and lift the gherao. Many teachers, who had been mediating between the students and the authorities, told the Vice Chancellor not to bring police inside as that would deteriorate the situation further. However, the interim Vice Chancellor remained adamant in his stand. Thus a huge police force entered the Jadavpur University campus at the call of the interim Vice Chancellor after mid-night on 17th September 2014, and a large number of students—boys and girls–were beaten up by the police and some unidentified plainclothes-men with batons to break a peaceful sit-in demonstration. More than thirty students were wounded, girls were manhandled by the baton-wielding force and there were no police women in the team. About thirty five students including one girl student were arrested and taken to the police station. That reminds us of the police action in 2005 on hunger-striker students under the previous Buddhadev-regime.
KOLKATA: Students of Presidency University Friday hit the streets to express solidarity with Jadavpur varsity protesters, condemning the alleged police assault on them while the father of the female student whose sexual harassment triggered the disturbances squarely blamed the vice chancellor for the mess.
“The vice chancellor (Abhijit Chakrabarty) is totally responsible for what happened Tuesday night,” said the father of the victim, who was allegedly dragged into the boys’ hostel and molested by a group of 10 students last month.
The father said while lodging a complaint about the harassment of his daughter to Chakraborty, he had appealed to the top university official to give him an assurance about the girls’ security.
“I asked him whether he would take responsibility for my daughter’s security. But he said ‘No, I can’t take responsibility about providing security to any girl on the campus’. He also told me that he cannot allow police inside the campus, as it would give the university a bad name. Continue reading →
KOLKATA: Scores of youngsters from Jadavpur and Presidency universities have launched a cyber campaign against chief minister Mamata Banerjee for branding a group of students “Maoists and CPM cadres” for asking her uncomfortable questions at a TV talk show.
“Can anything be funny and terrifying at the same time?” says one post. “She is ruining the anti-Left movement which was a very hard fought success,” says another.
Mamata had stormed out of the show after accusing Presidency student Taniya Bharadwaj a “Maoist”. The CM alleged that she was being asked “only CPM and Maoist questions”. The video has gone viral on the internet.
Tweets and posts have flooded social networking sites, condemning the chief minister’s “irresponsible and uninformed” remark. They demand that Mamata apologise to Taniya for the “slander”.
Facebook is abuzz with messages from students urging each other to join a campaign against “politics of terror” and make sure that Taniya and the other students who were present at the show (being recorded at Town Hall last Friday) were not persecuted. Many students have uploaded the TV clip of Mamata calling Taniya a Maoist and invited Netizens to view it and lodge their protest.
Shashank Shah, a Jadavpur University international relations student, who was present at the show, said his university mates felt scared initially.
“They were worried about being taken to task for angering the chief minister. Word went around that the police were looking for our telephone numbers and that we could be questioned for our supposed Maoist links. But soon we found that these fears were unfounded and realized that we should rather be protesting the unfair comments and not be afraid. We condemn her remark and will carry on our campaign on the internet,” said Shah.
“It was unfair on her part to call Taniya a Maoist without even knowing her. She owes her an apology. Aren’t Maoists and CPM supporters Indian citizens too? Don’t they have the right to demand answers from the chief minister?” he asked. Continue reading →