By A Newsman
Kolkata, 10 January: JADAVPUR University (JU) students have tonight called off their sit-in demonstration on the third day after JU chancellor and West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi giving nod to a meeting with them tomorrow.
The students had been into an indefinite sit-in from around 5 pm on 08 January over the demand for student union poll at the varsity that the authorities had put off following an advisory from the state government.
The students ended their demonstration after 53 hours after vice-chancellor Suranjan Das told them that the Governor would meet them at Raj Bhavan Monday. Six representatives from the three elected unions, and two Governor appointed members of the executive council will remain present in the meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 3.30 pm.
While withdrawing the sit-in around 10 pm, the students have clarified that they were not calling off the agitation yet. Rather, they will participate in the tripartite meeting tomorrow to further their demand for the election to JU’s student unions at the earliest.
The students are bent that the varsity authorities must notify the poll by 31 January, when the present elected unions are due to exhaust their one-year tenure. If the meeting with the Governor tomorrow fails to yield a positive result, the students have threatened to go back to the agitation.
JU VC Suranjan Das, who along with other members of the executive council, had been cooped up in his office due to the student agitation, has welcomed the move. “I am thankful that the students have decided to give the dialogue a chance. I am hopeful that a resolution will come out through the dialogue,” he said tonight.
Following an overwhelming demand by the students, the executive council of JU had on 05 January taken a decision to conduct the student union poll on 18 February and sent a proposal to the state higher education department on 06 January.
In reply, the higher education department on 07 January sent a communique stating that the poll could not be held until May as was told by a circular on 29 November. The reason behind this is the high and higher secondary exams that will begin next month, and then the Assembly elections tentatively scheduled for April-May.
Higher education department had issued the 29 November circular, following an announcement in this regard by education minister Chatterjee. But the government’s decision has been facing severe criticism from the Opposition student organisations, especially those belonging to the Left parties, who allege it to be an attempt to rob democratic rights of the students.
Ruling Trinamool Congress’ student wing, Trinamool Chhatra Parishad, have very little support base at JU. Hence, the union poll, if conducted ahead of the Assembly polls, will result in a setback for the ruling party.