Indefinite Fast at Jadavpur Univ as Students Demand Entrance Exam

Since three days, students of Jadavpur University are on indefinite fast, protesting the varsity's decision to scrap admission tests for undergraduate courses, even though education minister Partha Chatterjee met the Governor K N Tripathi to find the solution to the impasse.

Chatterjee did not discuss this issue with the media, although he had a long discussion about the issue with the Tripathi yesterday. Sources said it may reflect in two to three days.The executive council (EC) of Jadavpur University had decided to scrap admission tests for six humanities subjects and had announced it would admit undergraduate students in English, Comparative Literature, Bengali, History, Political Science and Philosophy only on the basis of marks.

The Chairman of Faculty Students Union (AFSU) Somashree Choudhary said that the indefinite fast by 20 students of the arts faculty, since July 6, will continue as the deadline for revoking the EC's decision to scrap the admission test expired by today afternoon at 12 noon today.

"We will discuss our future course of action at a meeting tomorrow morning, including boycott of classes, while the fast will go on till our demand is met," Chowdhury said. Meanwhile, the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) today said it will write to West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi apprising him of the present impasse.

A JUTA spokesman said the association will shortly write to K N Tripathy, who is also the chancellor of the university, about the current situation in the varsity in the wake of the EC's decision, on July 4, to admit students to six humanities streams based on marks obtained in the board examinations.

In another development, nine teachers of the Department of International Relations of the university submitted a letter to the VC today saying that they wished to dissociate themselves from the admission process as faculty members. Earlier, teachers of Department of English and Comparative literature had also expressed their wish to be kept out of the admission process. The teachers had dissociated themselves from the process, protesting against the EC's decision. They had also asserted that such a move would lower JU's academic standard.

The university's Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das had yesterday asked the students to call off the fast stating he was making the request as a teacher, a parent and being a part of JU. But the AFSU had said, "With all respect to the VC we are in no position to withdraw the fast till our demand is met."

Das met West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi on July 6, hours after he and other university officials were allowed to leave the varsity by AFSU members, who had gheraoed them for around 30 hours from July 4. A university official said the VC had given a written note to Tripathi with details of the developments at the university in the wake of scrapping of admission test, and subsequent agitation by students and JUTA.

The EC announced today that, JU will admit undergraduate students today in English, Comparative Literature, Bengali, History, Political Science and Philosophy on the basis of marks, reversing its earlier decision to hold entrance tests.The decision triggered a 30-hour gherao of the VC and other EC members till July 5 midnight, ceasework by JUTA on July 6, class boycott by AFSU for next couple of days and indefinite fast by some students since 10 pm on July 6. 

He said that the state government should come up with a concrete framework for the admission process. "I don't know what they want to do, this is not the way to run a university administration," Ghosh said. Stating that the BJP was with the students, he said the opinion of the students must also be taken into account with regard to the admission process issue.


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