India

Jadavpur University boycott to continue despite inquiry

Protests at Jadavpur University Image copyright Ronny Sen
Image caption The students have been holding protests since 11 September

Students at Calcutta's Jadavpur University say they will continue a boycott despite a government vow to set up a panel to investigate a sexual assault on a female student.

What began as anger over last month's attack has snowballed into fury over the authorities' response.

Protests reached a peak at the weekend when up to 25,000 marched through Calcutta's streets.

Students say they will not return to class until the vice-chancellor quits.

Dozens of students were injured when Vice-Chancellor Abhijit Chakraborty called in police last Tuesday night to quell a protest on campus.


At the scene: Rahul Tandon, Jadavpur University, Calcutta

Image copyright Ronny Sen
Image caption 'Many here are angry and there is a mood of defiance in the air'

The classrooms at Jadavpur university are empty. There are students walking about but they are all boycotting their lessons. Some are tattooing the word "shame" on their arms.

The walls are covered with posters, calling on the vice-chancellor to resign. It is the only topic of conversation.

One young student told me "I will not set foot in my classes until he has been thrown out of this institution". A female student said: "if we do not stand up and protest what will happen if someone attacks me"?

Many here are angry and there is a mood of defiance in the air.

Student leaders are meeting to decide what to do next. Whatever decision they take it will be some time before classrooms here are full of students again.


The students accused the authorities of brutality, saying they were attacked while they were protesting "peacefully".

Mr Chakraborty has defended the police action. He said he called the police and asked them to rescue him and some staff members after they were surrounded by the protesting students for 10 to 12 hours.

On Sunday night the West Bengal government said representatives of its education department would form a panel to investigate the assault.

The student was attacked on campus on 28 August. A police case was registered, but no arrests have been made yet.

The students have been protesting against police inaction since 11 September and have accused the university authorities of apathy.