Kolkata: As the fast unto death of Jadavpur University students entered second day on Tuesday , Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti appealed the protesters to come to the negotiating table.
Eleven students from different departments of the university are sitting on an indefinite hunger strike inside the campus since last night with a five-point charter of demands including resignation of the VC.
"The VC is responsible for police crackdown on us when we were protesting peacefully on the night of September 17. We have been demanding his resignation since then but he is adamant and so we are launching this hunger strike," Arunima Mitra, one of the fasting students told PTI.
Sheltered under shawls and blankets, the agitating students spent the cold winter night in the open yesterday outside Aurobindo Bhavan, the site of the police action in September during a gherao of VC and other officials.
The students had gheraoed the VC, registrar and others on the intervening night of September 16 and 17 demanding a fresh probe panel to investigate the alleged sexual harassment of a girl student inside the campus on August 28.
The VC had said he feared for his life and called the police who intervened to break the gherao and arrested 35 students. Many of the students alleged that they were brutally beaten up by police inside the campus at night.
Chakraborty, in the meantime, issued an appeal to the students to stop their agitation and sit for talks.
"The whole academic atmosphere is getting vitiated because of this. They must come to the negotiating table for talks with the university authorities and we will consider their demands," the VC told PTI.
He also appealed teachers, a section of whom have been demanding his resignation, to interfere in the matter and encourage the students for an amicable solution.
The students' other demands include a judicial probe into the police crackdown, a fair investigation into the alleged molestation of the girl student and restructuring of the internal complaints committee.
The students are also seeking withdrawal of the recently
introduced surveillance system which restricts entry of outsiders and monitoring of campus activities by CCTV cameras.
The agitation has affected the classes in the university as many students are bunking classes to join their mates sitting on hunger strike.
Since September 17, the students have been campaigning by various means to put pressure on the VC to resign.
They have brought out rallies, put up posters in the campus, boycotted classes and even voted against the official in a referendum.
The Annual Convocation of the university also turned out to be an embarrassing event for Chancellor K N Tripathi, who is also the state Governor, and the VC when they were confronted with protests and slogans by a large section of its students.
Geetoshree Sarkar, a gold medallist and the reciepient of best student award of the Bengali department at the convocation had refused to accept her medal and certificate from the Chancellor to protest against the presence of Vice Chancellor at the ceremony.