Kolkata: The Jadavpur University Special and 59th Annual Convocation turned embarrassing for both its Chancellor, who is also the West Bengal Governor, and the Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday after they were confronted with protests and slogans by a large section of its students.
A call by the university authorities including Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi failed to pacify the protesting students who had called a boycott of the convocation.
The Jadavpur University (JU) management was embarrassed after Geetoshree Sarkar, a gold medallist and best student of the Bengali department, refused to accept medals and certificate in the presence of VC Abhijit Chakrabarti.
“I told the Governor that I cannot receive the medals and certificate in presence of the VC. The Governor then asked me to go away,” Sarkar told reporters after coming down from the convocation dais.
Another PhD student Abhisek Mitra accepted his certificate, but raised a placard which said “Resignation, No Negotiation” (meant for the VC).
A large section of students and teachers wearing black badges protested demanding an impartial probe into the alleged police lathicharge on JU students along with the resignation of the varsity’s VC.
The students had gheraoed the JU VC, registrar and others on the intervening night of September 16 and 17 demanding a fresh probe panel to investigate the alleged sexual harassment of a girl student inside the campus on August 28.
The VC had said he feared for his life and called the police, who intervened to break the gherao and arrested 35 students. Many of the students alleged they were brutally beaten up by police inside the campus at night.
Placards saying “Go Back Governor, Go Back VC” were found across the university campus and along the walking bay to the event ground. Students also raised slogans outside the venue.
The Chancellor had earlier threatened with a proposal to put a stamp on the certificates of those students who were not participating in the convocation, but it failed to dilute the intensity of the agitation.
In his address, Tripathi said, “Never act in a way that reputation of an institution is diminished and will undervalue the degree.”
“Let us forget if anything untoward has happened and have a large heart to forget and forgive,” he said.
The Governor later also appealed to the students to cooperate, but the protesters instead held a mock convocation.
JU was planning to send the degree certificates to non-participating candidates at their residential address.
In the special convocation, the university conferred a degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) on Baichung Bhutia and Doctor of Science on scientist Avinash Chander.