An appeal to admin of the University of Calcutta regarding recent intolerance in campus

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The Vice chancellor,

University of Calcutta

87/1, College street, Kolkata-73

We appeal to you in light of a recent incident at the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Calcutta. News has come to the front that a faculty of the department, Prof. Bhaskar C. Das, was harassed, beaten up and threatened by a group of people comprising of mostly, but not exclusively, students of the department. The news has come in the form of multiple newspaper reports and video footage.

We find the incident not only shocking and unacceptable but also to be a cause of great concern. Physical violence towards a faculty member, or any other individual for that matter, inside a University is a grave act. We are astonished to see that an environment has developed in the campus where the students find such a course of action to be reasonable. We realise that there was discontent among the students about issues regarding their academic evaluation. But, there can be no issue which demands the harassment of teachers. We do not question the legitimacy of student movements against societal injustices. However, offensive display of might to achieve self-serving ends cannot be classified as a student movement.

The University, to our knowledge, has many channels through which students can forward their grievances to the authority. We believe that the old and fruitful tradition of teacher-student meetings is still in place in the University. Also, the students are free to approach the offices of the pro-vice-chancellor and the vice-chancellor with demands. Has the situation somehow become such that the students have lost faith in these channels? If not, then what the students did was not much more than a brazen act of hooliganism, to be condemned and taken action against. This particular event, when compounded with many cases of physical assault and mental abuse meted out to University members, staff, student, and faculty, across different campuses, over the last few years makes us deeply troubled about the state of being of the University.

With this in mind, we request you not to let this incident set a precedent for future miscreants to follow. We urge you and the Senate to:

1. Form a committee to look into the particular incident about Prof BC Das to identify the perpetrators.

2. Punish the perpetrators in an exemplary manner.

3. Look into the reasons that have led to such a caustic atmosphere in the campus in an attempt to normalise the situation.