The Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta’s Jadavpur University has resigned following a four-month boycott of classes staged by students. The protests were sparked by the sexual assault of a female student which took place on-campus on 28th August.
Vice-Chancellor Abhijit Chakraborty called the police in September in relation to an on-campus protest triggered by the attack. A large number of protesters were injured during this unrest; the students involved said they were peaceful and accused the authorities, who had been called in by Mr Chakraborty, of brutality.
While August’s assault sparked anger among the student community, this reaction quickly escalated to become fury following what was perceived to be a disproportionate response from the authorities.
Protesters refused to return to their studies, stating that they would only do so if the Vice-Chancellor stood down from his post. Lectures and seminars were boycotted, meetings were held and a referendum was staged during which students voted against Mr Chakraborty.
Earlier this month, protests escalated to the extent that 15 students went on hunger strike; at least three of these individuals were admitted to hospital.
Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee confirmed Mr Chakraborty’s decision to resign yesterday evening, saying:
“I spoke to the Vice-Chancellor and he informed me that an unrest is going on and he doesn’t want the academic atmosphere to get vitiated further. He wants peace and so he is resigning.”
“I want a peaceful environment to prevail in the University. There must be a conducive environment for education. I was concerned about the future of the youth and students. No academic activity has been happening for the past four months.”