By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : September 19 will go down in the
history of Jadavpur University, Calcutta as a black
day following an unfortunate and ugly situation that
was created by a violent clash between the goons of
the ultra Left, who are finding their domination on
the university campus receding, and the belligerent ABVP bullies who are out to capture university's
In the melee Babul Supriyo the Union Minister of
state for Environment, Forest and Climate Change got
roughed up, the university Chancellor got gheraoed
and the poor Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das and his
PVC Pradip Ghosh had to be hospitalised for
sudden hypertension. The state government, shifted
the blame on the Chancellor saying he shouldn't have
gone to the campus in such a situation without state
In almost over 5-hour high drama on Thursday
afternoon Babul Supriyo was roughed up and the
new Governor-Chancellor Jagdeep Dhankar who
rushed to rescue the minister was gheraoed, cursed
and prevented from rescuing the minister in
According to eyewitnesses, the trouble began
early in the afternoon when students formed a
barricade trying to stop Supriyo, from entering the
campus. The minister had reached the university
campus close to 2:45 pm to attend a fresher’s
welcome function organised by Akhil Bharatiya
Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at an auditorium on the
campus. Ultra Left students immediately surrounded
him, waving black flags and shouting slogans. They
would not let him proceed to the auditorium. For
about an hour, the minister continued to argue with
the students, who pushed and manhandled him, and
also engaged in heated arguments with
vice-chancellor Suranjan Das.
According to local reporters Supriyo said he was hit
and kicked by some students. A few agitators also
pulled at his hair. The agitators numbered about
500. “Don’t hit me,” Supriyo was heard telling the
agitators. “You cannot force me to leave the
While the minister managed to reach the auditorium
around 4 pm, the situation worsened when he tried to
leave at around 5 pm. The agitators said they would
not allow him to leave unless he apologised for his
behaviour and for entering the university campus
with security guards carrying weapons.
According to different narratives,
Governor-Chancellor Jagdeep Dhankar rushed to the
campus after vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said he
would prefer resigning to calling police to the
campus. Das and pro-VC Pradip Ghosh were admitted to
a hospital close after both complained of high blood
pressure. This happened before Dhankar’s arrival.
The Chancellor reached the campus by 6.45 pm.
When Dhankar boarded his vehicle along with the
minister around 7 pm, students sat in front of his
convoy and said they would allow it to move only
after Supriyo apologised. After the car was blocked
beyond 8 pm, the policemen quietly and suddenly
cleared the area behind the vehicle allowing the
driver to reverse, turn around sharply, and speed
The most curios aspect of the ugly incident was the
reactions of the eminent persons like the
Vice-Chancellor, the Chancellor and the state's
Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and the
stand taken by the state government.
The state government, particularly Higher Education
Minister Partha Chatterjee promptly came up with an
excuse saying that the Governor shouldn't have gone
to the university without taking the state
government's permission. He made the comment without realising that the
Governor happens to be the Chancellor of the
university and, in fact, it is the state government
which has no locus standi in the university
The Vice-Chancellor, Dr Suranjan Das is a seasoned
academic administrator and normally no sane VC would
normally allow the cops to enter the campus. His
refusal, rather a dogged insistence to keep the cops
away from campus could have been okay under normal
or modest situation. He failed to gauge the
situation which merited prompt police intervention.
Lawful force is the only means to counter brute
As for the Chancellor Mr Jagdeep Dhankar, he should
have realised that he was the head of the
state and his post demands utmost official decorum.
He was more worried about the union state minister
who was in trouble than realising the gravity of his
own post. Babul Supriyo is a public representative
and all public representatives are used to being hackled, booed, jeered. and
they are mentally prepared for that but a Governor
is the head of the state. He is His Excellency.
Only two days before the ugly incident Mr Jagdeep Dhankar,
as Chancellor of the state universities had invited
the VCs for a meeting and asked them what he thought
was the duty of the Chancellor and what they expect
him to do. Strange!. The law is very clear about it
and he should have known his powers and
responsibilities before inviting suggestions from the VCs.
The following is the text of the press note (NO.
072-P) issued by the Raj Bhawan on September 20 :
The Governor and Chancellor, Jadavpur University,
has expressed his relief that as a result of his
visit yesterday to the University, an end to an
unwholesome situation was brought about. His visit
was rendered imperative as the Vice Chancellor and
the pro-Vice Chancellor had left the University
while the Union Minister Shri Babool Supriyo
continued to be detained by the agitating
In his capacity as Chancellor, being guardian of the
students, he took the call so as to connect with the
students in the interest of education and
Before his visit to the University, the Governor and
Chancellor, exhausted all possible avenues that
could bring an end to the unsavoury spectacle by
flagging the issue to the DGP and the Chief
As a final step before going, the
Governor/Chancellor took initiative in connecting
with the Hon’ble Chief Minister, West Bengal, and
duly apprised her of the grave situation and the
consequences it may entail. There were many
telephonic interactions between the two and in his
high regard that the Governor/Chancellor has for the
Hon’ble CM, personally and for the Office the CM
holds, he would not like to divulge the conversation
between the two, except that he left for the place
after sufficient time had elapsed and the situation
did not show any change.
The Governor, is his capacity as Chancellor of the
University, is the guardian of all students and
their well being would ever be uppermost in his
mind. The Governor is conscious of his Oath of
Office whereby he undertakes to preserve, protect
and defend the Constitution and the Law, and also to
devote himself to the service and well being of the
people of the State of West Bengal.
In discharge of his duty both as Chancellor of the
University and Governor of the State, he felt it
necessary to visit the University and all agencies
required to be kept in the loop were informed. It is
unfortunate that the Secretary General of the All
India Trinamool Congress, through a press release
yesterday, has stated that the Governor did not
inform the Government and has not taken the State
Govt into confidence before making a visit.
Obviously he did not know of the developments that
took place between the Governor and the DGP/CS as
also the conversation with the Hon’ble Chief
Minister. The stand in the release is factually
The Governor would reiterate that being the guardian
of all students of the University, his doors are
always open for the students and interaction would
only help the concerns of the students and would be
in the interest of the University and the education.
The Governor looks forward to interacting with the
students and faculty of JU so that the University
registers incremental rise and wholesome education
environment. The issue of serious lapses by the
University VC, including virtual abandonment of his
obligations, and apparent failure of the State
Police Administration in attending to the situations
appropriately and inadequate security arrangements
for the Governor/Chancellor during his visit are
receiving his attention for way forward steps.
AICTE chief slams Jadavpur varsity domicile quota
CALCUTTA : Jadavpur University should not
have implemented the domicile quota in engineering
courses and shut the door on brilliant students from
outside Bengal, said Anil Sahasrabudhe, the Chairman
of the All India Council of Technical Education
(AICTE) said here on July 22.
Talking to The Telegraph Sahasrabudhe hoped
that the university would wake up to the pitfalls of
the new system and scrap the quota because with the
quota in effect 90 per cent of the B.Tech seats in
the general category across all departments would be
reserved for students domiciled in Bengal.
Sahasrabudhe pointed out that the institutes in the
US flourished because they welcomed students from
all over the globe. He said now the
university must decide whether they want more
vibrant students or they want to be very
Speaking to the newspaper correspondent he said that
"this is not a progressive step," and added
that "when you open up and expand, the quality
improves. At the IITs, students come from all over
India. That is how they get better students. You go
to the US, there institutes enrol students from as
many as 145 countries. They are still better. JU
should understand this logic. Their standards will
decline and they will lose out on bright students if
they become closed-door," he added.
Jadavpur University officials said it was too early
to predict whether the domicile policy would lead to
a decline in standards. "The domicile policy was
introduced this year and it will take at least a
couple of years to find out whether the impact is
adverse," said Chiranjib Bhattacharya, the dean of
the engineering faculty at JU.
The university decided to introduce the domicile
quota following protests from teachers over the rise
in the number of students from outside Bengal being
admitted to the engineering courses.
The executive council, the highest decision-making
body of the university, had in March proposed that
90 per cent of the engineering seats in the general
category be reserved for domiciled students. The
Mamata Banerjee government approved the proposal on
the ground that students from Bengal should get
priority in a state-funded institution.
According to the rules of the state joint entrance
examination board, only those candidates are treated
as domicile of Bengal who are residing in West
Bengal continuously for at least for 10 years as on
31.12.2018; or whose parent(s) is/are permanent
resident(s) of West Bengal having permanent
addresses within the State of West Bengal.
Sahasrabudhe, while expressing the apprehension
about a fall in the standards following the
implementation of the domicile quota, was echoing
what JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had said in
Das had spoken out against any such quota saying a
university aspiring to the tag of "Institute of
Eminence" should not shut its door on deserving
candidates from outside Bengal in the name of
JU is number seven on a shortlist of "eight public
institutions" drawn up by an "empowered committee"
of the University Grants Commission for the tag. The
commission had picked up three universities in July
last year and said the rest would be considered
If and when JU makes the cut, it will receive a
grant of Rs 1,000 crore over five years.
Das had said the introduction of the domicile quota
would erode the institute's regional diversity, one
of the rating parameters followed by the Human
Resource Development Ministry. Regional diversity is
indicative of a university's outreach and
inclusiveness and is ascertained with the help of
percentage of students from other states pursing a
course in that institute.
"The VC feared introduction of the policy could
antagonise the UGC and the ministry and would stand
in the way of the university making the cut for the
tag," a teacher at JU said.
Suranjan Das gets 2
years more at Jadavpu
CALCUTTA: Dr Suranjan Das, the
Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University here got a
term extension of two years dashing the hope of many
contenders who had been lobbying for the coveted
post. On June 20 the Governor-Chancellor Keshari Nath Tripathi
extended his tenure "for a period of two years or till
he turns 70 years", a university official said.
Dr Suranjan's four-year term ended on June 23 but as the
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had, on January 7, raised
the retirement age of VCs from 65 to 70 years Dr Das
turned out to be the first beneficiary of the scheme.
Dr Das, a known historian and essentially a quiet man
had to face a tough students unrest some months ago when
the angry students all but molested the VC and the
From February 19 to March 19
this year, Das and pro-VC Pradip Ghosh were confined
five times. During the gherao on February 19, Das had
fallen ill after being allegedly assaulted by students
and had to be stretchered out of the campus. He was
hospitalised for a couple of days.
Speaking to reporters a day after his reappointment he said that
he respected the students' "right to protest, right to
voice demands, but while exercising their democratic
rights, the students should not infringe on the
democratic rights of others".
Asked about his focus areas in his second innings at the
helm of the university he stressed the need to improve the profile
of the students. "If you do not improve the profile of
the students, the profile of the university does not get
enhanced," he said.
When asked why he accepted the offer of helming the
campus that has given him so much trouble in the form of
gherao, Das said: "I was mentally prepared to leave.
That was how I charted my future. Once an order comes
from the chancellor, it is difficult to say no. It is
true that I have been gheroed a number of times. But… I
also received support from a large section of students
Das said he would take steps so that the university's
position improves in the national institutional ranking
"But I would say that ranking can't be the sole
parameter of an institute's excellence. The race for
ranking can lead to homogenisation of the
teaching-learning process," he added.
IIEST, Shibpur wants to go the IISER way
From Our Correspondent
CALCUTTA : The Indian Institute of Engineering
Science and Technology (IIEST), Shibpur, which had decided
to admit students from the JEE (Advanced) pool from
this year is still awaiting approval by the
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
IIEST director Ajoy Kumar Ray
had told reporters on June
8 2017 that the institute’s executive council had at a
meeting decided to pick students from the
JEE (Advanced) pool. The decision, he said, was
communicated to the MHRD for approval.
The institute has been upgraded from a state
engineering university called Bengal Engineering &
Science University and used to admit students from
West Bengal state level joint entrance examination
called Bengal JEE. After its conversion to Indian
Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)
its vice-chancellor Ajoy Kumar Ray, running a second
term, preferred to go in for JEE (Advanced).
“We want top-notch students for our dual-degree
programmes, which aim to build in them a strong
research base. Between the JEE Main and the JEE
Advanced, the council has settled for the JEE
Advanced to ensure we get the best,” Ray told
This year IIEST will admit students through the
state JEE, as was mentioned in the advertisement
published by the JEE board late last year, when the
Bengal Engineering & Science University was yet to
be upgraded to IIEST.
The 15 IITs and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad,
are among the institutes that admit students through
the JEE Advanced, which candidates who clear the JEE
Main are eligible to write. The National Institutes
of Technology (NITs) and a few other institutes take
students through the JEE Main.
Besides, institutes like the Rajiv Gandhi Institute
of Petroleum Technology, Rae Bareli, the Indian
Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs),
the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology
Thiruvananthapuram and Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore offer admission by using rank list of JEE-Advanced.
Calcutta, it may be recalled, already has an Indian
Institutes of Science Education and Research which
runs Bachelor of Science and Master of Science dual
degree programme and admits students from JEE
An executive council member said the MHRD had
suggested to the IIEST to explore the possibility of
admitting students through JEE Advanced from the
2014-15 session itself. “But we did not want to
tweak the criteria following the state JEE board’s
notification on our mode of admission,” said the
Roy explained what prompted them to opt for the JEE
Advanced ranks. “We are restructuring our programme
with an eye to preparing students for the industry.
Speaking to industry experts our course curriculum
is being drawn up. Only the bright students would be
able to cope with such programme,” said Roy.
JEE Main ranks are considered to get admissions in
engineering institutes like the NITs (National
Institutes of Technology).
Roy has also written to the MHRD to set aside fifty
percent of seats at the IIEST for “home (Bengal)
students” from 2015-16 academic session.
An IIEST official said the ministry had in a letter
to the then Left Front government in 2007 promised
to reserve 50 per cent seats for students from
Bengal. In the IIEST act, however, there is no
mention of such reservation.
“We have written to MHRD that 50 per cent seats be
set aside for the state students coming through JEE
Advanced exam from next year. Once the board of
governors-- the proposed decision making body at the
IIEST-- is constituted shortly, the proposal would
be resent,” added Roy.
The IIEST has also finalised its fee structure.
Registrar Biman Banerjee said a student would be
charged Rs 44,500 in the first semester and the fee
would come down to Rs 36,500 from the subsequent
“The first semester fee would comprise a tuition fee
(Rs 35,000), institute development fee (Rs 5,000
one-time), caution money (Rs 2,000 to be refunded on
completion of the dual-degree programme),
examination fee (Rs 1,000), admission fee (Rs 1,000
one-time) and student activities fee (Rs 500),” said
SC and ST students-- for whom altogether 22 percent
seats of the 488 berths would be reserved--won’t be
charged any tuition fee through out the semesters.