Calcutta University assault: JNU teachers condemn Bengal government

Kolkata, July 7 (IANS) The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) on Tuesday condemned the West Bengal government for “perpetrating violence” on peacefully agitating teachers of the state.

JNUTA’s reaction came in the wake of the recent assault on Calcutta University faculty members allegedly by supporters of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress students wing.

JNUTA also expressed solidarity with the protesting teachers of the state.

“The JNUTA strongly condemns the state government for perpetrating violence on all democratic and peacefully demonstrating teachers and conveys its solidarity and support with agitating teachers of Bengal,” Bhaswati Sarkar, general secretary, JNUTA, said in a statement.

The Delhi-based university’s teachers association expressed shock “at the dastardly attack on Calcutta University teachers and non-teaching employees who were conducting a peaceful dharna in Calcutta University on July 1.”

The association also demanded strong action against the culprits.

“This is not an isolated incidence, in the recent past the state of West Bengal has witnessed similar violence in Aliah and Jadavpur universities. JNUTA strongly condemns such acts and demands immediate action against the culprits,” Sarkar said.

“The JNUTA reiterates that the right to peaceful demonstration and dissent is a non-negotiable constitutional guarantee and it is the responsibility of the state government to protect the demonstrating employees.

“The universities provide spaces for constructive debate and discussion which helps build a democratic culture in society,” Sarkar said.

West Bengal Governor K.N. Tripathi on Saturday urged the stakeholders to resolve the issue through dialogue.

Calcutta University Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das has threatened to quit if no action was taken in the case of the assault on varsity teachers.

Das, who along with a section of teaching and non-teaching staff was assaulted last week, allegedly by members of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP).

The vice chancellor, who had initially denied the assault, submitted a confidential report to Education Minister Partha Chatterjee giving a detailed account of the “assault, the assaulters and who led the assault”.

The issue has also created a political furore.

While the opposition Left Front suggested Chatterjee step down as the education minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought Tripathi’s intervention against the Trinamool’s bid to “spread hegemony to create anarchy in the entire education system”.

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