Note of Solidarity with the Students of Jadavpur University: Jagriti

Guest Post from Jagriti, Women’s Development Cell, Bharati College, Delhi University

(The authors of this post sent it to us at Kafila saying –  “…since we don’t have any direct mean of contacting them (Students of Jadavpur University), we wish to do so through, if possible, your website”. Accordingly, we are uploading this post to honour their wishes and their sense of solidarity)

Dear students of Jadavpur University (JU),

We, members of Jagriti, the Women’s Development Cell of Bharati College, University of Delhi, pledge our support to your struggle for gender justice and administrative and pedagogical accountability. We are deeply disturbed to receive news of administrative indifference to sexual harassment and of the consequent police brutality in JU campus. We unanimously and unequivocally condemn JU administration and the West Bengal police for ignoring students’ valid demands and for orchestrating violence onto students.

In iterating our support to you, we iterate also the belief that the entire administrative mechanism of JU failed to protect its own students. We hold the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the Dean of Students responsible for not ensuring that the students’ demands were satisfactorily addressed; we also hold the Internal Complaints Committee responsible for letting what could have been only a campus-specific issue escalate into a major humanitarian and academic crisis. This incident is a lesson not just for JU but for educational institutions and workplaces globally to comprehensively commit themselves to gender justice and to accountability. University administrations are in anyway obliged to engage with their students in healthy and open dialogues on each and every issue that the students, persons whom the university is supposed to service, feel pertinent, and to do the complete opposite, to break down all communication and instead call armed police personnel to violently disperse students is totally unacceptable. JU has been known nationally as well as internationally as a hub of free and liberal thinking, and this shocking attempt to choke dissent out of it attracts our unstinting condemnation.

We support your demand for the non-extension of the tenure of Mr. Chakrabarti, the current interim VC. This issue is political, but it does not belong to any political party, and we commend your transcending political barriers in pursuance of your struggle against the JU administration. We commend your courage, strength and commitment to gender justice and to human rights, and offer our condolences for the losses which you have suffered these past few days. Through this note, we also appeal to the Governor of West Bengal to initiate a magisterial enquiry into the police brutality on JU campus, and have all officials, JU as well as police, who ordered this dismissed from service and tried in a court of law for gross dereliction of duty and for grievous injury to innocent lives.

Jagriti unanimously stands in solidarity with the complainant and the students of Jadavpur University.

This post was sent to us by Pallavi Rohatgi on behalf of Jagriti at Bharati College, Delhi University.

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