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Professor thrashed by students inside Bengal college

 Kolkata, Feb 3
A college professor in West Bengal was Tuesday thrashed inside the premises more than once by students allegedly owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress for a Facebook post critical of the party's students' wing.

Amit Roy, associate professor and head of the department of economics at Ghatal Rabindra Satabarsiki Mahavidyalaya in West Midnapore district, later filed a police complaint.

The crestfallen professor said he was first attacked outside the staff room and then assaulted inside the room by students for alleging in his Facebook wall two weeks back that the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad had "captured the students' council undemocratically".

"I was sitting in the college staff room, when the students' council general secretary called me out. I found some boys standing outside, who showed me a printout of my Facebook post and asked me why I had posted my personal comments about the college elections," said Roy.

Without allowing him to respond, Roy said the students started beating him up and tore his sweater. But as other professors and college guards rushed in, the attackers dispersed and Roy returned to the staff room.

But the respite was temporary as the students forced themselves inside the staff room after 10 minutes, dragged him out of the chair and again beat him up.

"I fell on the floor. The general secretary was there. I don't know the rest of the students," he said.

Later, as police arrived at the spot, Roy lodged a complaint.

Roy said the situation in the state was such that teachers were coming under attack in all the colleges.

"No one can dare utter any word against them. When there is no democratic space, a dictatorial attitude emerges. Then this sort of incidents happen every now and then."

Describing the incident as the "voice of dictatorship", he said: "This can happen to anybody any time. The underlying message is one must put leukoplast (bandage) on his mouth. You can't speak out."

Kapotakshi Sur, Roy's colleague and head of the Bengali department, told IANS that Roy was beaten up in the presence of other teachers.

Sur alleged that when the professors went to the police station, the students forcibly removed them.

"The majority of the assaulters were students. But I can't say there were no outsiders."

She said the teachers have decided not to take classes until the attackers apologise unconditionally.

"We demand that it be ensured that such things do not happen again. We are all feeling insecure," Sur said.

This was not the first incident of a professor facing trouble in Bengal for his online posts targeting the ruling party or any of its leaders.

In April 2012, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra and his neighbour were allegedly assaulted by Trinmaool Congress activists and then arrested for circulating emails mocking Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission later recommended Rs.50,000 compensation to each of the victims, but the state government rejected it