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A message from Dipanjan Rai Chaudhuri. Sanhati, Nov 8, 2008

The Bengal Engineering College, now a university, the BESU, has been closed sine die by its VC on November 6 2008, after he called in the police to punish a section of the students who do not follow the dictates of the SFI, the students’ organisation of the major ruling party.

Previous violence in 2007: Click here for reports of administration-police-Party nexus.

The VC found this opportnity to please his political masters after two groups of students owing allegiance to the two political groupings came to blows in the Electrical Engineering department. Teachers of the department had separated the hostile groups, and have gone on record to say that they would have restored peace given the time, when a police party led by the SP, Howrah district, burst on the scene, jostling with the students and insulting teachers individually. Eleven students were arrested.

The police try to justify their unwonted behaviour by alleging that a DSP was manhandled and the students were instigated by “Naxalite” teachers. If the DSP was manhandled it is unfortunate. But is it the case of the police that violence against police personnel is to be punished, but police violence is always justified? The police do not regret the fact that students were injured. In fact, guardians have complained to the media that the injuries of the arrested students went untreated in custody.

The police in CPI(M)-ruled West Bengal is fast developing into a Political Police. Otherwise, why do they feel the need to raise the Naxalite bogey?

All this is happening because students’ union elections are impending and the VC wants to intimidate all opposition to the SFI. This is the same VC who was earlier treated to an overwhelming vote of no confidence by the teachers, on both counts, academic and administrative. A self-respecting man would have resigned.

Talking of resignation, why is the registrar still there, although a bit of investigative search led to the discovery that he did not have the requisite educational qualifications?

The major ruling party is, in this case, trying to justify summoning the police. But the cat was well out of the gap at Howrah court on November 7, when the police brought bailable charges against 3 SFI supporters. and non-bailable ones against 8 others who did not belong to the fold of the SFI.

Friends, these 8 boys are in jail custody. They will be produced again on Tuesday, November 11. Before that happens all bodies like the TASAM, the FAMA, the APDR, the Nagarik Mancha, the MASUM , all little magazines, students’ organisations and intellectuals should hand in memoranda to the Governor, who is the Chancellor, too, asking for

(1) immediate withdrawal of all charges and release of the 8 arrested students,
(2)condemning the police action, and
(3) removal of the partisan VC.

We only have Monday to organise. But every one will certainly rise to the occasion.

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