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‘Spineless’: In open letter, Jadavpur University students ‘rusticate’ Chancellor

The letter was published after the Governor had tried to enter the campus to attend a court meeting on Monday and JU convocation on Tuesday, but faced back-to-back resistance from university students and staff on both the days.

Debosmita Chowdhury tears a copy of the CAA in protest while receiving her degree during convocation on Tuesday. (Express)

In an open letter, Jadavpur University (JU) students have announced their decision to rusticate West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as the university Chancellor. The letter, which was written on Tuesday, also had a report card that described the Governor as “spineless”.

The letter was published after the Governor had tried to enter the campus to attend a court meeting on Monday and JU convocation on Tuesday, but faced back-to-back resistance from university students and staff on both the days.

In their letter, the students’ body wrote “You (Dhankhar) 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 West Bengal Governor.”

In the report card published in the letter, students wrote that the Governor’s general knowledge was less than satisfactory, arguing capability was poor, sense of history was nil and strength was unwavering dedication to ignoring violence against students, activists and Muslims. They also wrote that his overall character was spineless. On Monday, the Governor was shown black flags by students and non-teaching staff at the university. It was only after considerable struggle against a sea of students that Dhankhar managed to enter the building. However, the non-teaching staff then blocked his way and he failed to attend the court meeting. The Governor then offered to take questions. However, when students sought his reaction on Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Delhi Police’s recent attack on Jamia Millia Islamia students and those killed in anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh, he claimed ignorance. The students heckled him, following which he left.

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On Tuesday, Dhankhar’s convoy was blocked at the gate of the university for nearly two hours by TMC’s non-teaching staff association. The Governor failed to attend the convocation and had to return. A section of students also protested against him.

While the university authorities expressed their helplessness, an angry Governor called it a “death of democracy and education”. Meanwhile, JU post-graduate gold medalist, Debosmita Chowdhury, who had torn a copy of the CAA in protest while receiving her degree during the Convocation, said on Wednesday that she had further plans to protest against the CAA and NRC. However, she added she would protest in her own way, and not with any political organisation.

Chowdhury said, “I have pre-planned to do that because, this CAA and NRC not only divide us in terms of religion, in future it will also divide us in terms of cast, creed and language. So, in my own capacity I decided to use the space given to me.”

Many people thought that Chowdhury had torn up her degree on stage. Clarifying her act, she said: “I will not tear my degree, which I have earned with my own capability. But I should protest to increase the political consciousness of others. And I am proud to be a student of Jadavpur University, which taught us humanism and equality.”

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