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Sunday 19 January 2020

Jadavpur University justifies inaction; police probing assault on themselves

Meanwhile, Babul Supriyo, the Union minister at the centre of the fracas, has refused to file a complaint and urged students to not lodge FIRs either

Kolkata: The person in the eye of the storm in the Jadavpur University fracas does not want to complain to the police! Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment Babul Supriyo on Friday said that he did not want to file any complaint with the police despite the unprecedented protests at the university and even in the face of harassment.

However, his party colleague Agnimitra Paul and the RSS-affiliated student body ABVP Jadavpur have filed a written complaint with the police. According to police sources, all four cases pertaining to the incident of violence on Thursday were registered.

The University authorities have not investigated any of the cases. Police have not arrested anyone.

Babul Supriyo said today, “I am not complaining to anyone. People have seen everything. People will judge. I am appealing to the protesting students not to complain either. (Chief Minister) Mamata Banerjee did not seek any help from the police in the past. She still does not want to. It is the responsibility of the state government to find the culprits.”

However, while Babul Supriyo is saying this, Nityananda Mistry from the ABVP has filed a complaint and so has BJP leader Agnimitra Paul in the Jadavpur police station. Paul filed charges separately.

Mistry alleged that Debraj Cole, Kajri Majumdar, Pinaki Bhole in a group of 17 students attacked them during an event. besides manhandling the minister and members of the ABVP and BJP, they also hurled expletives at the organisers. On the basis of Paul’s complaint, a case of illegal assembly, beatings, threats, taunts and humiliation has been initiated. This case has been registered against an unidentified student of Jadavpur University.

Another case has been filed on the basis of allegations made by Debraj Debnath, general secretary of the university’s student wing. After protests surrounding Babul Supriyo, supporters of the ABVP were accused of vandalising and setting the student union office on fire. This counter-complaint accuses ABVP supporters of unlawful assembly, trespassing, arson and destruction of property.

The police are investigating a fourth case, though, which is filed by themselves. In this one, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act has been pressed for unlawful gathering, beatings, serious injuries, arson, obstruction of public works, beating to obstruct a government employee from discharging his duty, as well as vandalism of public property.

When Governor Jagdeep Dhankar went to the spot, the policemen and firefighters who were with him were assaulted by these students.

A video of the incident

Jadavpur University tries to justify inaction

Jadavpur University authorities have issued a press statement on the incident where Union minister Babul Supriyo was manhandled while the campus witnessed vandalism. The press statement issued by the university registrar said, “Yesterday’s events were unwarranted.” Everyone has the right to speak on the campus, it said, adding however that the way some people were stopped from exercising their democratic right was not justified.

Jadavpur University
Statement from Jadavpur University

The Jadavpur University recounted an unlikely turn of events where, while they did not find it proper to call police to a centre of education, both the vice-chancellor and the pro-VC, who were supposed to intervene in the matter, fell ill simultaneously and, hence, had to be hospitalised!

“The university, however, believes that the campus cannot be administrated with the help of police, which provokes adverse implications,” the statement said.

“It was due to the pursuance of university’s teachers and employers, not the intervention of police, that led to the withdrawal of the blockade in front of His Excellency’s car in (sic) the spot,” says the university, patting itself on the back.

“Unfortunately, both Vice-Chancellor Prof Suranjan Das and Pro-VC Dr Pradeep Kumar Ghosh, both of whom tried to assuage and pacify both sides, fell ill and had to be rushed to a hospital. We wish them (a) speedy recovery,” reads the statement.

Surajit Dasgupta
Surajit Dasgupta
The founder of सिर्फ़ News has been a science correspondent in The Statesman, senior editor in The Pioneer, special correspondent in Money Life and columnist in various newspapers and magazines, writing in English as well as Hindi. He was the national affairs editor of Swarajya, 2014-16. He worked with Hindusthan Samachar in 2017. He was the first chief editor of Sirf News and is now back at the helm after a stint as the desk head of MyNation of the Asianet group. He is a mathematician by training with interests in academic pursuits of science, linguistics and history. He advocates individual liberty and a free market in a manner that is politically feasible. His hobbies include Hindi film music and classical poetry in Bengali, English, French, Hindi and Urdu.

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