CU gherao rerun at JU

Jadavpur University students gheraoed their vice-chancellor on Wednesday, in a near rerun of what their counterparts at Calcutta University did on Monday.

The agitating JU students said they had gheraoed vice-chancellor Shouvik Bhattacharya to know the university's stance on the proposed common postgraduate entrance test. Around the same time, a section of teachers held a sit-in demonstration inside the vice-chancellor's chamber to protest the alleged lack of transparency in recruiting teachers.

Members of the JU chapter of the All Bengal University Teachers' Union demonstrated from 1.30pm to 5pm and those of the arts faculty students' union from 2pm and 5pm, crippling regular activities at the university.

At CU, members of the Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad had gheraoed vice-chancellor Suranjan Das for two hours, demanding to know why the centenary hall had been rented out to Ganashakti, a CPM mouthpiece, to celebrate its foundation day after students' associations were denied permission to hold fests there.

"The VC was gheraoed as we are in the dark about what stance the university is taking on the test. We had informed the four-member committee the JU authorities had constituted to seek the opinion of the stakeholders about the test about our stand," said Chandak Chatterjee, a spokesperson for the students' union.

The committee had submitted its report to the VC earlier this month. Bhattacharya will table the report before the executive council, the university's highest decision-making body, on January 16 to decide on the next course of action, said a university official.

"The students are aware that the university can't take a stand before the report is tabled but they still gheraoed the VC, probably inspired by what happened at CU a couple of days earlier," said the official.

The gherao was lifted after Bhattacharya promised to meet students on Monday to explain institution's stance on the test.

Bhattacharya claimed there was no gherao. "The students had come to hand over a letter with their demand. Since I was with the teachers, I took a while to meet them," said Bhattacharya.

The teachers were protesting alleged irregularities leading to denial of appointment as teacher to research scholar Babar Ali Shah in 2006.

"Shah who was not appointed despite being more qualified that those who were appointed. After the VC promised to look into our demands, we withdrew our sit-in."

Bhattacharya also denied that there was a sit-in. "The teachers only came to meet me over an issue."

Clash complaint

Two groups of Karaya residents accused each other of attacking them with weapons on Wednesday. Sources said the incident was the fallout of a year-long dispute over a club that had allegedly been constructed illegally. One group accused the police of "inaction."

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