The extended monsoon session of the West Bengal assembly commenced on Tuesday with a tumultuous beginning, as BJP MLAs staged a walkout, alleging that Jadavpur University has transformed into a breeding ground for elements that are anti-national. This claim followed the unfortunate demise of a first-year student. The BJP legislators called for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) inquiry to unearth the facts surrounding the matter.
Submitting an adjournment motion on the issue, the BJP legislative party pressed for Education Minister Bratya Basu to provide an explanation.
Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, posed questions to the government, asking, “What measures has the state government taken to address the situation at JU and dismantle the alliance of anti-national elements and illicit substances within the institution? How has the government tackled the issues of alcohol consumption and unlawful activities?”
Adhikari pointed out, “Individuals harboring ultra-left ideologies are attempting to exert control over the university, while the state government remains a passive observer.”
In response, Basu placed blame on Governor CV Ananda Bose for the “state of affairs at Jadavpur University.” This triggered slogans against the TMC government by BJP MLAs.
Basu conveyed, “The new governor, without consulting the state government, is appointing vice-chancellors in universities. While the state government can issue directives, their implementation lies with the university authorities.”
Following this, opposition legislators exited the assembly, expressing their dissent against the minister’s statement.
Basu defended, “The governor shoulders the primary responsibility for the situation. It’s not limited to JU; issues like ragging have occurred in central institutes like IIT Kharagpur.”
Addressing Adhikari’s claim about the nexus between drugs and anti-national elements on the JU campus, Basu countered, “What was the narcotics bureau of the Centre doing?”
Basu, a noted theatre personality and state education minister, affirmed, “The state government condemns ragging incidents, but it also supports preserving free thought within the university.”
The spotlight has been on Jadavpur University due to criticism following the death of a first-year undergraduate student, allegedly as a result of ragging and sexual harassment.
Speaking to reporters later, Adhikari called for an NIA investigation into the incident, claiming, “The JU campus has become a hub for anti-national elements, with the state government merely watching. Only an NIA inquiry can uncover the truth, as the state government seems intent on concealing the matter.”
Adhikari also questioned Basu’s support for “free thinking,” pondering whether the minister actually favors “the ultra-left mindset.”
The 17-year-old undergraduate student tragically fell from a second-floor balcony of the main boys’ hostel on August 9. His family alleged he was a victim of ragging and sexual harassment.
Subsequently, thirteen individuals, including former and current JU students, were arrested in connection with the student’s death.