Dhankhar leaves CU convocation venue following students’ stir

Dhankhar left the premises around 1.30 pm, without attending the event

The agitators blocked the governor’s way, waved black flags at him and raised “go back” slogans.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was on Tuesday (January 28) prevented by a section of students from attending the Calcutta University’s annual convocation at Nazrul Mancha here, following which he left the premises.

Dhankhar, who is also the chancellor of the university, said “those that compromised culture and decorum need to be in a reflective mode”.

Shortly after the governor arrived at the venue around 12.30 pm, the students, with “No CAA” and “No NRC” posters in hand, waved black flags at him and raised “go back” slogans.

Dhankhar headed straight towards the Nazrul Mancha green room, where he met Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, who was on Tuesday conferred honorary D Litt (honoris  causa) by the university.

Minutes before the programme started, however, another group of students took to the stage and raised slogans against the governor, this time prompting him to leave the venue around 1.30 pm.

The protesters claimed that Dhankhar was “the (BJP-led) Centre’s representative, who doesn’t deserve to be on the dais for CU’s convocation ceremony”.

Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakravarty Bandhopadhyay, on her part, was seen trying to convince the students to withdraw their agitation. She later announced that the governor had left the venue.

Taking to Twitter, Dhankhar later shared pictures of his rendezvous with the Nobel laureate and said, “The actions of those who created or stage managed unseemly spectacle would resonate for long in the ears of the cultured people of WB (West Bengal)”.

“The uppermost thought in mind while leaving Calcutta University without attending the Convocation is to ensure there is no compromise of the immense respect we have for Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee on whom we are conferring honorary D Litt (honoris causa),”he tweeted.

The governor also showered praises on Abhijit Banerjee and said he was a “man of sterling qualities and disarming grace… greatly touched by his modest approach and depth”.

Last month, Dhankhar had faced similar protests at Jadavpur University, also during the convocation ceremony.

The West Bengal government, in December last year, trimmed the governor’s powers as the chancellor of universities, notifying a set of new rules governing his interaction with vice chancellors.

Under the new rule, the chancellor cannot intervene in the day-to-day affairs of universities, nor can he advise university officials directly.

All communication between the chancellor and senior university officials will also have to be routed through the state’s higher education department, it mandated.