Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar leaves CU convocation after protests
WEST BENGAL Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday faced protests from a section of students of Calcutta University and was stopped from attending the university’s annual convocation ceremony at Nazrul Mancha. The Governor had to leave the premises.
Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee was conferred a DLitt (honoris causa) by Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Sonali Chakravarty Banerjee in the absence of Dhankhar.
The protest began after the Governor arrived at Nazrul Mancha around 12.30 pm. Three students held ‘No CAA’ and ‘No NRC’ posters, waved black flags at Dhankar, and raised ‘go back’ slogans. Escorted by security guards, Dhankhar made it to the green room of Nazrul Mancha where he met Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee.
As the Governor was set to head towards the stage, another group of students raised slogans against him.
The students said they would not allow the convocation to begin unless the Governor leaves the venue. Succumbing to pressure, university authorities told students that the Governor would neither hand over the DLitt to the Nobel laureate nor lead the ceremonial academic procession of scholars and the Senate members.
V-C Sonali Chakravarty Banerjee said, “Abhijit Banerjee has come a long way to receive the DLitt… Only if you calm down can we honour him, otherwise it is not possible for me to conduct the programme. The Governor will not lead the procession.”
Protesting students alleged that the Governor was working as “an agent of the BJP” and they cannot let him preside over the function. “The Governor is a representative of the BJP- led Centre. He doesn’t deserve to be on the dais for the convocation ceremony,” a student said.
The Governor then left the venue around 1.30 pm. He tweeted, “Convocation of Calcutta University was at Nazrul Mancha auditorium and not on the campus of Calcutta University. There was total failure of the State Machinery to maintain law and order. The obstruction was stage managed. This happens to constitutional head. Where are we heading!”
The Governor, who is the chancellor of all state universities, had last month faced protests at Jadavpur University and could not enter the campus to attend the special convocation.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee said, “If the Governor tries to understand why such protests are taking place, he will be on the right track…He should see that the constitutional post he holds is not tarnished.”