Protests against assault on Calcutta University teachers

Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) Hundreds of teachers and professors on Thursday staged a march in the city condemning the assault on Calcutta University faculty members allegedly by supporters of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress students’ wing.

Besides the protest march, many teachers and intellectuals along with former Supreme Court judge A.K. Ganguly participated in a sit-in demonstration against the “attack on democracy”.

A section of faculty and employees alleged that members of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) assaulted them and manhandled vice chancellor Suranjan Das on Wednesday. The incident occurred while the teachers were agitating against the suspension of finance officer Harisadhan Ghosh over allegations of corruption.

Even as they expressed concern over the rising instances of campus violence, the protestors – many of them retired professors – also questioned the intentions of Das, who has denied the incident.

Holding aloft banners and posters saying “Shame” and “Yes to education, no to violence”, the agitators walked from Rajabazar to College Street where the university is located.

“The assault on the teachers is condemnable but what is unfortunate is the vice chancellor, instead of standing against the attack, has denied it. Perhaps he is more concerned about his future,” said one of the protestors, a retired professor.

“What kind of place are we living in where assault on teachers is a spectacle to enjoy for students. What is most unfortunate is our education minister, instead of acting against this attack on democracy, has denied the incident,” said Ganguly, referring to state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee who on Wednesday claimed that the vice chancellor denied the assault.

“The vice chancellor told me nobody has assaulted him and no such incident happened. I have sought a report of the whole incident from him,” Chatterjee had said on Wednesday.

While the TMCP has denied the assault, the Trinamool-backed West Bengal College and University Professors’ Association (WBCUPA) has claimed it was the students who were assaulted by the teachers.

The Students Federation of India also held a rally against the assault.

On Wednesday, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee also condemned the assault and expressed alarm over the degrading of education sector in the state.

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