Kolkata, Jan 13 (IANS) Accusing Jadavpur University students of indulging in drug and alcohol abuse, outgoing Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti Tuesday claimed he had to step down in face of “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” stir initiated by “politically-affiliated” students.
“I am resigning as the VC of JU, not succumbing to the undemocratic agitation done by students, but in best interests of the university, since I have failed to instil discipline in JU … a premier educational institute of the country,” Chakrabarti told the media here.
“My resignation is also a mark of protest against such anarchism perpetrated by the agitating students and unfortunately by some of the teachers who are members of the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association,” he said.
Chakrabarti’s resignation was Monday announced by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the campus.
“The agitation at JU is unwholesomely unconstitutional as the students and teachers agitating defy the governor, the high court of Calcutta and the executive being the state government,” he said.
“The situation in JU is gravely intense as the persons connected to the university have no allegiance towards the constitution of India and consider the university campus to be a domain beyond the constitution of India.”
The 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 in August.
“Despite the order passed by the Calcutta High Court, as the vice chancellor, I have been patient enough and have taken a soft stand by not requisitioning police inside the campus with the fervent hope that good sense will prevail upon the agitators,” he said.
“However, with passing days the hope was shattered by the militant activities unbecoming of the protesting students which in fact has deterred from many willing students and teachers from taking up their classes regularly,” he noted.
Christened “Hok Kolorob” (Let there be shouts), the agitation gained momentum via social networking sites and had ripple effects across many Indian cities. The alumni particularly lent solid support to the movement.
Chakrabarti noted with “regret” that the “misguiding agitating students set a bad example of indiscipline but I wish them all success in life and I hope that academic atmosphere is restored at the earliest for the benefit of the academy”.
“I am leaving with a heavy heart because a section of my colleagues being some teachers of the university joined hands with the students, which is most unfortunate. I feel that it is every teacher’s duty to guide the students and not to misguide them.
“The students are at a formative stage and need guidance. They need to realise that the university campus is not meant for indulging in addiction and substance abuse in various forms including alcohol and cannabis etc.
“As a VC it is my duty to guide the students properly and ensure that there is discipline in the university, but unfortunately I failed.”
Countering criticism that he was a Trinamool Congress loyalist, Chakrabarti asserted he has no political affiliations but was still “branded by the media as a politically-coloured person”.
He said he became the victim of the political agitation and Monday (Jan 12) should be observed as a ‘black day’.
“Being an apolitical person without any political affiliation, I became the victim of that politicisation which has started long back in our university system. So we must condemn it and yesterday (Monday) it was a black day for the political as well academic administration as well as academic fraternity of the country,” he said.
He added: “It should be marked as a black day in the country when a VC had to go away in the face of undemocratic unconstitutional, political agitation in the interests of the university.”