Kolkata: Victims of a "violent police crackdown", a host of Jadavpur University students on Thursday rubbished Kolkata Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha's claims that there was no baton charge on the demonstrating students and expressed apprehension of a frequent police presence in the campus.
Several students of the prestigious university had to be hospitalised after police allegedly beat them up early Wednesday for laying siege to Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarty's office while seeking a fresh inquiry into the purported sexual harassment of a female student on the campus last month.
Following a widespread backlash over the violent crackdown, Purakayastha during the day held a press conference asserting there was no baton charge or assault on the students and claimed the presence of "armed outsiders" among the demonstrating students.
"If there was no baton charge, from where did the students receive injuries? The entire country has seen the video footages of how we were brutally assaulted during the violent crackdown. The police commissioner lied blatantly.... if this is not assault, then what is? Does an assault always mean firing bullets," said student Saumyaditya Roy Chowdhury.
Several others students dubbed the police chief's claims as "laughable" and rejected his assertions of sufficient presence of female police officers as well as presence of armed outsiders.
"We could not see any women among our attackers. They were all males pouncing on us, hitting, dragging and some even hurled a couple of women students out in the public gathering," claimed Shrishti Roy Chowdhury.
"...we are afraid that police presence may become common in our campus," she added.
Meanwhile, the students continued demanding the removal of the vice chancellor, who had called in the police claiming his life was in danger.
Hundreds of students from across education institutions in the city took out protest marches during the day, demanding an independent inquiry into the incident as well as the VC's removal.
Four Leftist student unions had called for a state-wide strike in all educational institutions during the day to protest the crackdown.
Members of Bharatiya Janata Party's Mahila Morcha, the party women's cell, aalso participated in the protests outside the gates of the varsity campus.
Political parties too have slammed the city police chief for his "blatant lies".