In Kolkata, the student protest march against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is something that became very prevalent this month. Various political camps have supported the protest march except for the right-wing party.
Amidst all of this, the Governor of Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankhar, has mostly kept mum on the CAA issue, apart from criticising the TMC government.
He maintained his silence about protests too. He was criticised by the students as well as the academic circle and commoner alike.
It seems likely that the Governor has a knack for walking in uninvited as witnessed in the last couple of days in Jadavpur. Here is a timeline of the tussle between the Governor and the students.
On Monday (23/12), a large number of students and employees barricaded Jagdeep Dhankhar’s car, raised “Go Back” slogans and conducted a black flag demonstration.
He was on the campus for a university court meeting about the convocation the next day (24/12). He got held for almost an hour after being escorted to the administrative building by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Suranjan Das.
However, after a while Dhankhar left the meeting. JU authorities continued the court meeting nonetheless, as, under the new set of rules passed by the state government, the Governor’s consent and presence, during internal meetings, are not mandatory anymore.
Jadavpur University’s Vice Chancellor, Suranjan Das later said that the Governor would preside over the convocation as usual if he were present.
Read More – If These Recent Incidents Of ‘Extreme Intolerance’ During CAA/NRC Protests Are Not Chilling To You, I Don’t Know What Will Be
The next day, Jagdeep Dhankhar arrived at the university to attend the annual convocation ceremony. This time too he was met with vehement protests, black flags and slogans like, “Dhankhar Go Back”.
After he left, it got announced that instead of the Chancellor, i.e. Dhankhar, the Pro Vice Chancellor Pradip Ghosh would preside over this year’s convocation.
During the convocation, gold medalist and Department of International Relations topper, Debasmita Chowdhury walked up to the stage, took out a copy of a page of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, tore it down and declared: “Hum kagaz nahi dikhayenge (We will not show the papers).” Raising her fist, she shouted “Inquilab Zindabad (Long live the revolution)”, and left the stage amidst cheers.
Debasmita later told the media that brutal assaults on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia had made a lasting impression on her mind.
She clarified that she did not affiliate herself with any political organisation on or off the campus. “I used the privilege of being a gold medalist that gave me some extra time on the stage, and I used it to voice my protest,” she said.
Expressing sorrow and dismay over the turn of events in Jadavpur University, Dhankhar tweeted on Thursday, “Protest is an invaluable gift of democracy. It gets tainted the moment it graduates to intolerance and ceases to be peaceful.“
The Rustication Of The Governor
On Thursday itself, an “open letter” was made available to the media, and the letter addressed Dhankhar as ‘Ex-Chancellor’. The primary two students’ bodies of Jadavpur University, Arts Faculty Students Union (AFSU) and Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students Union (FETSU), announced he was being “rusticated” from his position as the Chancellor.
“We have investigated your behaviour and motives and come to the conclusion that they are shameless attempts to seek attention from students, thereby wasting our valuable time,” the letter said.
The letter argued as a part of its ongoing “evaluation” of university officials by the students, the Governor faced several questions about the NRC, National Population Register (NPR), CAA and the violence targeting Muslims. He could not provide a “satisfactory” answer to the queries.
“Keeping the above in mind, you are being informed of your rustication from the position of Chancellor of Jadavpur University. The students’ body of Jadavpur University has also decided to disown you from the position of the Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal,” the letter concluded.
A report card that got attached with the letter declared Dhankhar’s general knowledge as “less than satisfactory” and said his sense of history was “nil“, and declared his overall character as “spineless“.
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