‘Asked Me to Bathe With Him’: Students Open Up On ‘Sexist’ JU Prof

Enraged students speak up against Jadavpur University Professor Kanak Sarkar and express their angst to The Quint.

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A professor at Kolkata's premier Jadavpur University (JU) has courted controversy by making comments on virginity of women on Facebook and later defending his remarks.

International Relations' professor Kanak Sarkar has likened a woman's virginity to a "sealed bottle" or "packet" in a Facebook post, triggering a furore on social media and academic circles. Though he was quick to delete the post, screenshots of it went viral.

Students' unions on Tuesday submitted memorandums to JU Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das, demanding strict action against Sarkar.

On Wednesday, 16 January, Sarkar was ‘divested of his duties with immediate effect’ in view of the recommendation of the student-teacher committee of the department of international relation, news agency ANI reported.

The professor, in his post, had written:

“Are you willing to buy a broken seal while purchasing a bottle of cold drink or a packet of biscuits? It is the same case with your wife. A girl is biologically sealed from birth until it is opened. A virgin girl means many things accompanied as values, culture, sexual hygiene. To most boys, virgin wife is like angel.”

Facing criticism from all quarters, a defiant Sarkar appeared to justify his comments, asserting it was intended for "fun" among a social media group of friends and "not for public consumption". "Someone took a screenshot of the post and forwarded it, which triggered the response. I did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiment or insult any woman," he said.

Enraged students speak up against Sarkar and express their anger to The Quint.

“When I was in my first year, I had to go to Kanak Sarkar’s official room to submit a presentation. He had asked me whether I’d like to bathe with him in any river. That time, I was small (young) and I didn’t understand that it counts as harassment. But now, after experiencing all these things for all these years, we have been able to take the decision that we are finally boycotting his classes.”
Roshni Chakraborty, Student

Sarkar has also been accused of ‘checking out’ female students.

“He [Sarkar] talks about a lot of irrelevant things in class which proceeds to normalising sexism, indulges in misogyny. He talks to his female students about the way they dress and if they are wearing short clothes, he will check them out.”
Somashree Choudhary, Student

(With inputs from PTI)

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