Kolkata: A stalemate prevailed on Thursday in Jadavpur University as the students hardened their stand against the vice-chancellor vowing not to attend classes till he resigns, a day after 35 students were arrested for gheraoing him.
Holding him responsible for allowing the police to act inside the university campus, student leaders said they would boycott classes for an indefinite period till Abhijit Chakrabarti steps down from his post.
"Ours was a complete peaceful protest, but the VC called the police inside the campus. We are beaten up, girls were molested and many of us were arrested. So we cannot accept him as the VC anymore," the students who brought out a rally in the campus said.
No classes were held today in JU while classes were affected in most colleges after the CPI(M)'s students wing SFI called a strike over the incident.
The Kolkata Police, however, rejected all allegations of baton charge on students.
"There were policemen in civil dress and none of them had any lathis or weapons," Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha said, adding that the situation could have turned worse had the police not intervened as there were reports of armed miscreants entering the campus.
Education Minister Partho Chatterjee appealed to students to withdraw their class boycott call and return to studies.
"On that day if the real students were 40, then 300 were outsiders. If there is any wrongdoing we will definitely see but gherao cannot be supported. We will not accept it and this is not in accordance with student discipline," he said.
A university teachers' body also said its members would boycott the VC when he comes to the campus.
Nandini Mukherjee, joint secretary of the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA), told a news agency, "The VC must relinquish the post now and all teachers will boycott him if he comes to the campus. We will also not cooperate with him in any administrative work."
The VC, who has been advised a bed rest for 4-5 days by doctors, alleged that a section of the teachers were also involved in the gherao incident on September 16 and 17 night.
"I condemn it. I hope the students will give attention to their studies," he said.
State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee called on Governor KN Tripathi and apprised him of the situation. He said that to protect women teachers and the VC, who had said his life was under threat, the police came to the campus after its help was sought.
"It is surprising that a section of teachers were allowed by the protesting students to leave while 45 teachers were held up on that day. We are looking into it departmentally," the minister said.
He denied that police baton charged.
"We don't want police to enter any education institution. It is against our policy, but if there is 'goondaism' then what can be done," Chatterjee said, adding that collapsible gates were closed and the teachers were kept confined despite repeated requests.
He said that several agitators also prostrated themselves while trying to restrict the movement of the held-up teachers and VC.
"If the students want they can talk to the government but they should not be misled as attempts were being made to politicise the issue by vested groups," he said, adding that they want a speedy investigation into the August 28 molestation case and the report should come out.
"In the name of the agitation, attempts are being made so that the report doesn't come out," Chatterjee said.
When his attention was drawn to the injury suffered by some students during the police action, he said that they were looking into the causes, but a one-sided vilification campaign was going on.
"Students may have their anger and grievances but they should not resort to such activities which will tarnish the image of an educational institute like Jadavpur university which has international reputation," he said.