Jadavpur University, rated by the University Grants Commission as one of India's best univiersities, has been the site of repeated student agitations in recent times. The bourgeois media have been calling for firm action, and The Statesman suggested that the installation of CCTV is needed to keep Maoists out of the campus, while The Telegraph has been claiming, without producing evidence, that a handful of student leaders are forcing the vast majority of Engineering students to boycott the examinations. Below, we publish the letter from over forty JU academics to the Vice Chancellor, indicating that it is not simply a case of hot headed student politics as the bourgeois media would like its readers to believe. The letter, circulated over the internet, has been given the title Is Jadavpur University Becoming A Police University.
Calcutta 700 032
Dated, Jadavpur University
11 November 2010
We, the undersigned teachers of Jadavpur University, express our deep sense of shock and indignation at the police assault within the campus on a group of demonstrating students in the afternoon of 9th November 2010 – an unprecedented incident in the 55-year old history of our University. It is clear from the accounts of eye-witnesses and audio-visual media coverage of incident that in the immediate trail of the Chief Minister Sri Budhhadeb Bhattacharjee’s arrival in the campus, the concerned students were shouting slogans against the authority’s decision to invite a Chief Minister who they felt was responsible for the police atrocities on the people of Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh. These demonstrators were evidently unarmed and had not committed any act of violence while protesting against the Chief Minister’s visit. Baton-wielding police, who had practically besieged the campus in drones just before the arrival of the Chief Minister ruthlessly beat up the demonstrators, many of whom were female students, taking care to bruise them all over their bodies. Media coverage showed girl students being dragged by the hair and severely thrashed.
Our indignation is all the greater because this incident of police violence ties up with a wider picture that has started looming large for all of us to see. We have already witnessed an acute anxiety on the part of our University authorities to initiate surveillance on campus life with the aid of CCTV cameras. More recently, in the immediate trail of a seminar in which some outsiders swarmed in to create a ruckus, the authorities have decided to have an EC resolution to the effect that the themes, list of speakers and content of presentations of all future seminars in the University shall be under the surveillance of the authorities who will allow/disallow the holding of respective seminars accordingly. Consequently, we feel that the incident of 9th November 2010 really represents yet another instance of the way in which our University is becoming less of a University and more of a police state in the miniature. We find this development very embarrassing for our identity as academics.
a) the University authorities should verify whether the police have framed criminal charges against the demonstrating students
b) if such charges have actually been framed then the University should come to the protection of the students as it was the police who had initiated action against unarmed students in their own turn unsolicited by the University authorities as the authorities themselves have claimed in the media. It goes without saying that the University should also see to it that these charges are withdrawn.
c) the authorities should also give appropriate hearing to the injured students and ensure immediate medical treatment for them.
d) The authorities should ensure that justice is done to the victims of police brutality.
Amit Bhattacharyya, Professor of History,
Sudeshna Banerjee, Reader in History
Anindya Majumdar, Reader in International Relations
Tilottama Mukherjee, Lecturer in history
H.N.Toppo,Lecturer in International Relations
Sumita Sen, Professor of International Relations
Gautam Basu, Professor of International Relations
Abhijit Roy, Reader in Film Studies
Gautam Nandi, Reader in Mechanical Engineering
B.C.Pal, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Chaitali Dutta, Reader in Library & Information Science
Tarun Kumar Mondal, Lecturer in Library & Information Science
Udayan Bhattacharyya, Reader in Library & Information Science
Tarun Kanti Naskar, Reader in Mechanical Engineering
Bhaskar Gupta, Professor of Electronics& Teli-communication Engineering
Amitabha Gangopadhyay, Professor of Civil Engineering
Sanjoy Kumar Saha, Reader in Computer Science Engineering
Dipak Kumar Bandyopadhyay, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Nupur Dasgupta, Professor of History
Kalyan Kumar Ray, Professor of Instrumentation and Electronics Engineering
Debi Chatterjee, Professor of International Relations
Kunal Chattopadhyay, Professor of Comparative Literature
Aveek Majumdar, Lecturer in Comparative Literature
Suchorita Chattopadhyay, Professor of Comparative Literature
Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta, Professor of Comparative Literature
Jugaratan Barman, Reader in Economics
Ajitabha Ray Chaudhury, Professor of Economics
Bhaswar Moitra, Professor of Economics
Chandrani Banerjee, Lecturer in History
Anuradha Ray, Professor of History
Himadri Banerjee, Professor of History
Sumit Kumar Barua, Lecturer in Comparative Literature
Sivaji Bandyopadhyay, Reader in Computer Science Engineering
Ranjan Chakrabarti, Professor of History
Bipul Malakar, Professor of Economics
Tuhin Das, Professor of Economics
Samir Das, Lecturer in History
Maroona Murmu, Senior Lecturer in History
Swati Bandyopadhyay, Professor of Printing Engineering.
Kumardev Banerjee, Reader in Instrumentation & Electronics Engineering
Rajiv Bandyopadhyay, Professor of Instrumentation & Electronics Engineering
Bivas Dam, Professor of Instrumentation & Electronics Engineering
Kalyan Majumdar, Reader in Instrumentation & Electronics Engineering
Abhijit Ghosh, Reader in Sanskrit