'Politics of gherao' cannot be tolerated: West Bengal minister

With the impasse continuing at the Jadavpur University, a West Bengal minister on Friday warned that "politics of gherao" in educational institutions would not be tolerated and urged the agitating students to take the path of discussion to resolve differences.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014, 20:32 PM IST

Kolkata: With the impasse continuing at the Jadavpur University, a West Bengal minister on Friday warned that "politics of gherao" in educational institutions would not be tolerated and urged the agitating students to take the path of discussion to resolve differences.

Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told a press conference here that the students' demand for punishment of those involved in the alleged sexual harassment of a girl student in the campus had taken a backseat as their agitation now appeared to be influenced by "outside forces with a political motive".

"I am saying with utmost modesty that the politics of gherao in educational institutions is not desirable. It would be accepted under no circumstances. If anyone is aggrieved against the equally dissatisfied (university) authority, the process of redressal should remain restrained," Chatterjee said.

He pointed out that he was not saying this in the wake of the JU university impasse, but had been saying this right from the day he had taken over as education minister.

The minister said members of the internal complaint committee set up by the university to probe the alleged sexual harassment of the girl met him yesterday and gave a written report.

"The women teachers who were heckled have given me in writing, but the students are yet to give anything in writing," he said regretting that it (student's stir in campus) was taking place one after another.

"Their only method (of agitation) is to resort to gherao and lie down (to block the entry of university officials)," Chatterjee said.

He said that as the chief minister had instructed to constitute a probe committee, the VC had been requested to form the committee on the basis of an FIR that the aggrieved girl had filed in the Jadavpur police station and that the VC's own information on the incident could be taken up later.

Referring to the demand of the students that a fresh probe panel be set up, Chatterjee said the VC informed him that the committee had been set up adhering to legal norms.

"We do not want to interfere in the autonomy of the university. We want that the inquiry should be completed early. If we want to identify the culprits quickly, then what is the reason of putting obstacles to the probe," he said.

The minister said that four members of the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association, including its president, met him today and "I am happy that they have said that the gherao was unjust. I agree with them that all students cannot be bad."

He said that JUTA representatives had complained against the VC and the police. "I told them that the police had not resorted to lathicharge and if they had CD in support of their allegation, let them submit."