WB Guv Forced to Leaves CU Convocation Following Students’ Protest
Shortly after Dhankhar arrived at the venue, students, with ‘No CAA’, ‘No NRC’ posters tried to block his way.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was on Tuesday, 28 January, forced to leave the Calcutta University’s annual convocation in a huff after some students showed him black flags and shouted 'go back' for his pro-CAA stance, calling him an "agent" of the BJP.
Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of the university, said “those that compromised culture and decorum need to be in a reflective mode”.
Pleading helplessness, Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakravarty Bandopadhyay later told reporters that "a section of students did not want to receive their degrees in the presence of the honourable governor".
Shortly after Dhankhar had arrived at the venue around 12:30 pm, the students, with 'No CAA' and 'No NRC' posters in hand, tried to block his way and shouted 'go back' slogans.
The governor headed straight towards the Nazrul Mancha green room, where he met Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who was, on Tuesday, conferred the honorary D Litt (honoris causa) by the university.
Minutes before the programme started, however, another group of students took to the stage and raised slogans against the governor, this time prompting him to leave the venue around 1:30 pm.
The protesters claimed that Dhankhar was “the (BJP- led) Centre’s representative, who doesn’t deserve to be on the dais for CU’s convocation ceremony”.
The VC, on her part, was seen trying to convince the students to withdraw their agitation. She later announced that the governor had left the venue.
She later told reporters that there was a provision in the university statute, which said the VC could preside over a convocation ceremony in the absence of chancellor.
“... And we are relieved that the convocation finally got over and we could hand over the citations to our invited dignitaries and academic degrees to students,”Sonali Chakravarty Bandopadhyay, Vice-Chancellor, Calcutta University
‘Total Failure of State Machinery’: Dhankhar
Taking to Twitter, Dhankhar later shared pictures of his rendezvous with the Nobel laureate and said, "The actions of those who created or stage-managed unseemly spectacle would resonate for long in the ears of the cultured people of WB (West Bengal)".
"The uppermost thought in mind while leaving Calcutta University without attending the Convocation is to ensure there is no compromise of the immense respect we have for Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee on whom we are conferring honorary D Litt (honoris causa)," he tweeted.
The governor also showered praises on Abhijit Banerjee and said he was a "man of sterling qualities and disarming grace... greatly touched by his modest approach and depth".
‘Will Only Talk About Academics’: Astrophysicist J V Narlikar
Eminent astrophysicist J V Narlikar, who was conferred 'Sir Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Medal' on the occasion, when asked a question about Tuesday's students' agitation, said, "I will only talk about matters related to academics." Last month, Dhankhar had faced similar protests at Jadavpur University, also during the convocation ceremony.
The state government, in December last year, trimmed the governor's powers as the chancellor of universities, notifying a set of new rules governing his interaction with vice-chancellors.
Under the new rules, the chancellor cannot intervene in the day-to-day affairs of universities, nor can he advise the university officials directly.
All communication between the chancellor and senior university officials will also have to be routed through the state's higher education department, it mandated.
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