Kolkata, Jan 13 (IANS) A section of Presidency University students, who had supported the Jadavpur University students’ agitation, Tuesday welcomed Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti’s resignation and said the protests will “pave the way for many movements” in the future.
“At last, victory prevails! The VC of Jadavpur University has resigned. In the last four months, the world has come to see a new dimension of students’ politics,” said a statement from Presidency University’s students’ union council.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Chakrabarti’s resignation Monday, triggering celebrations in the campus where academic activities had been disrupted for months over the students’ demand for his ouster.
Chakrabarti also held a media meet Tuesday and announced he would meet Governor K.N. Tripathi and hand over his resignation letter.
“Abhijit Chakrabarti represented with his actions the state’s tendencies when it comes to inflicting injustice and inequality and curbing freedom of expression among the student community.
“His stepping down and the struggle which it followed showed clearly the apathy shared by the Governor, the Education minister of State, the law enforcement authority and the state machinery as a whole since the brutal state terror inflicted on 16th September, 2014,” said the statement.
Jadavpur students had been clamouring for Chakrabarti’s removal following the September police crackdown on a sit-in by students demanding an independent investigation into an alleged molestation incident in August.
A section of students of the 198-year-old establishment (formerly known as Presidency College) had expressed solidarity with the movement and joined in several phases of the mass protests spanning four months.
“The nonpartisan, independent students’ movement showed the power of a flagless, colourless, banner-less yet united spirit of the students of West Bengal. We believe that ‘Hok Kolorob’ is a phenomenon, a flow which will pave the way for many movements to come in the future,” the release said.
Scaling up the protests, as many as 10 students began an indefinite hunger strike Jan 5. The number swelled to 17 by Monday. Three were hospitalised due to deteriorating health.
The release said: “The horrendous incidences of state terror in 2005, 2010 by Left Front (when in power) and the undemocratic atmosphere which prevails in many educational institutions even today saw the grand rally of Sep 20, 2014 and the four month-long struggle by the student community as a form of resistance which ultimately bore fruit.”
It added: “As greatly symbolic as this movement was, the resistance has still to achieve much more. It has to continue to rise up against state terror and the undemocratic atmosphere the state inflicts on the student community. We must thank the media for having been with us throughout this struggle and ask for its co-operation in the future.”