Last year, Jadavpur University, one of the premium educational institutes of Kolkata, had hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
On September 17, a group of students who were sitting on dharna against university authorities’ ‘apathy’ over sexual assault on a student on campus on August 28, were beaten up by the police, Rapid Action Force troopers, and ‘plain-clothed goons’.
The police, the students claimed, were asked to intervene by then Jadavpur University Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakraborty.
As a direct fallout of this incident, Chakraborty had drawn massive public ire while the students had remained steadfast in their demand for his resignation.
After months of disorder at the university, Chakraborty agreed to step down in January following the intervention of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Shortly after the Jadavpur students were beaten up, former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had sought some information from Kolkata Police under the Right To Information Act.
The copy of Gandhi’s letter, which is in Rediff.com’s possession, asked for the following:
- Copy of the letter received by the police department based on which the police entered the university campus.
- Number of police officers with their designation who had gone to the campus.
- If the police were carrying arms, details of the arms carried by them.
- Commissioner of Police Surajit Kar Purakayastha had stated at a press conference that there were armed outsiders present in the university on that night. How many outsiders were arrested? How many weapons/arms were seized?
- Copy of the first information report filed against the outsiders who were arrested.
- Copy of the FIR filed by students against vice chancellor, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Debashis Roy.
Like the Jadavpur University vice chancellor, Kolkata Police too took months to reply.
According to a letter issued a few days back by Mehboob Rahman, Joint Commissioner of Police, Kolkata and State Public Information Officer, it was the Jadavpur University VC who had asked the police to take charge of the situation to rescue him and his colleagues from the students’ barricade.
The police also replied that the officers who entered the university were unarmed.
Rahman’s reply does clear the air about the varsity chief’s role on that eventful night.
His letter, however, fails to explain how his ‘unarmed police’ resorted to merciless lathi-charge, video footage of which was broadcast by many television channels.
Image: Students take part in a rally in protest against the Jadavpur University incident; Photograph: Dipak Chakraborty/Rediff.com