Parents protesting at the campus of Jadavpur University
At West Bengal's Jadavpur University, where students have been demanding Vice Chancellor Avijit Chakraborty's removal for months, parents are today sitting on a 12-hour fast at the campus gate.
The parents say they want to show solidarity with their children's cause and assert that the vice chancellor must not continue for the sake of normalcy in the illustrious institution.
"What kind of a vice chancellor is this? Children, including my daughter, are on fast and falling ill but he is doing nothing. The vice chancellor has to go, that is the only solution," said Nabanita Pal, whose daughter Nabattoma has been on a hunger strike since January 5.
Even parents of students not on strike are participating in the protest fast.
"My two daughters are Jadavpur University students. They are not on hunger strike. So what? I am a parent. All the students are my children. That's why I am here. This four-month impasse will not send if the vice chancellor is not removed," said Ashish Banerjee.
Today is the eighth day of the hunger strike by 15 to 16 students. A third-year student was rushed to hospital on Friday after he fainted on campus.
The Jadavpur University has been in turmoil since September over the alleged molestation of a student by seniors. As students protested and surrounded the Vice Chancellor's office in the university's administrative building, Mr Chakraborty called in the police to get him out. The police forcibly removed the students, allegedly dragging them and beating them. Some students were injured in the late night clash.
The incident led to massive public outrage. On December 24, at the convocation, a student expressed protest by refusing to accept her medal for best all-rounder from the Governor, who is also the university's Chancellor.
On Saturday, West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi warned Mr Chakraborty against delaying action in the molestation case. He also expressed concern on the condition of some fasting students.