Published: 23rd December 2019
Not our Chancellor: How Jadavpur University students rolled out black carpet welcome, rapid-fire round for Governor
When the students heard that the Governor will visit the university today, they were prepared to welcome him — peacefully, with black flags, carpet and a list of questions
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is also the Chancellor of the Jadavpur University was greeted with black flags when he went to attend the varsity's highest decision-making body, JU Court's, meeting. The students also designed a black carpet to welcome the man they have openly declared as someone they cannot accept as their Chancellor.
The students had announced that they will boycott the convocation if the Chancellor was giving out degrees. When they heard that he will visit the university today, the students were prepared to welcome him — peacefully, with black flags, a black carpet and a list of questions. "When he came in from Gate Number 2 he was met with students peacefully sloganeering and holding black flags. He tried to get past but students demanded that he speak to them," said Saikat Sit, alumni of the civil engineering department who frequents the campus for his PhD. Many alumni like him were also present there. "The black carpet had red spots that signified the bloodshed in the past few weeks of the anti-CAA protests. When confronted with the set of six to seven questions on the Aurobindo Bhawan's porch the Governor could not provide a satisfying answer," he added. The governor was stuck for around 30 minutes amid the protests by CPI(M)-backed SFI, Arts Faculty Students Union (AFSU), AISA and FETSU.
The students asked him what he thinks about the deaths in UP during the protests and Dhankhar said he did not know much about it. He was asked what he thinks about the NRC and CAA and he said he is open to discussions and invited the students over to the Raj Bhavan. But that this did not go down well with the students. "While the entire country is burning he wants to discuss an Act that has already been passed. He was just trying to provoke us. Give unsatisfying answers so that students slip up and say something that can be used against them. But no one made one unwanted remark," said a student present throughout the event. TMC Staff Union members were allegedly trying to create a blockade and planning to not let Dhankhar pass but that did not work so well. The Governor left the premises soon after he answered the questions.
AFSU general secretary Debraj Debnath said, "The governor did not reply to any of our queries. He couldn't explain why he kept blurting out pro-NRC and CAA statements and asked protestors to withdraw their agitation. We will keep boycotting him whenever he comes to the campus. We don't consider him as chancellor," he said.
The Court meeting took place without the Chancellor as he was answering students' questions on the nationwide protests and more. The special convocation where the Governor was supposed to confer DLitt and DSc degrees stands cancelled, said sources at the JU Teachers' Association (JUTA). But the students will receive their degrees from the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Suranjan Das, and they have no problem with that. They only fear that the Chancellor, if present, will try to instigate the students. The Chancellor has confirmed that he will be present for tomorrow's convocation and also expressed regret that he will not be able to hand over the special convocation degrees.