Published: 16th December 2020
I was merely trying to step out of my room: JU's Dean of Arts refutes students' accusation of pushing, molesting students
The SFI faction of the varsity released a statement on December 16 that they had been molested and pushed aside by the Dean and also accused him of threatening them
The students of Jadavpur University's Arts Department has alleged that the Dean of Arts has manhandled students and molested women students when they went to meet him to discuss the university's decision to start online classes before the seats were all filled. Dr Omprakash Mishra, the Dean of Arts, denied being in a scuffle with the students and added that he merely got out of his cabin as 20-odd students went to meet him and he was concerned that social distancing was not being maintained.
The SFI faction of the varsity released a statement on December 16 that they had been molested and pushed aside by the Dean and also accused him of threatening them. "We had expected a civil discussion when we went to meet him but he misbehaved with the students, manhandled them and even molested the female students. Even now, he is not apologetic at all. He threatened us and said that he will personally talk to the faculty if there's a decision to be made and will not participate in faculty meetings. We have not witnessed such undemocratic situations in Jadavpur University ever," read the statement. Dr Mishra is a veteran politician and a spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress as well. His appointment as the Dean had irked a section of the professors and students as well, said sources.
Former General Secretary of the AFSU and Secretary of the SFI's Jadavpur Unit, Debraj Debnath said that the VC has not spoken to them yet and that they will continue the gherao till he does. "The VC has not spoken to us yet. We are waiting to talk to him. What the Dean did is unacceptable. We cannot let goonda raj into the university," he added.
Dr Mishra refuted the claims and said that there was no scuffle with the students and added that he merely wanted to step out of his room as students had crowded inside. "I was afraid that there was no social distancing being maintained. I just wanted to step out of my room. There were too many [people inside. Why would a 60-year-old man like me voluntarily get involved in a scuffle with 20-something students? I have been gheraoed and they are standing so close that even if I move they will accuse me of molestation. I have not gone to the washroom for three hours," said Dr Mishra. "The students came to talk about the university's decision to start online classes. This has been going on for a week and I have spoken to all the teachers and they have said that they are in favour of starting online classes. We would all like to go back to how things functioned but the students have to understand that this is not possible in a situation like this," said the Dean.
The students have demanded the resignation of the Dean and asked the authorities to take further steps. The VC has not commented on the issue yet.