He was barred from entering the Jadavpur University campus to attend the convocation on December 24.
Kolkata: A fierce protest by a group of students forced West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday to skip the Calcutta University (CU) Annual Convocation without conferring D.Litt (honoris causa) on Nobel Laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee ceremonially at the event. Mr Dhankhar blamed the Mamata Banerjee government for the “obstruction.”
This was perhaps the first time in the CU’s history, founded in 1857, when the governor, being the chancellor also, was stopped from presiding over its annual convocation. It was also the second time in a month when Mr Dhankhar was prevented by agitating students from attending a varsity convocation. He was barred from entering the Jadavpur University campus to attend the convocation on December 24.
Calling Mr Dhankhar a ‘BJP agent’ over the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), the CU students demanded that their vice-chancellor (V-C) Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, instead of the governor, should hand over the D.Litt to the Nobel Laureate.
In the afternoon Mr Dhankhar reached the venue: Nazrul Mancha in south Kolkata in his
Angry students shouted ‘Go Back’ slogans and showed black flags to him. Outnumbering the governor’s security personnel including a team CRPF commandoes, they gher-aoed his sedan and even hit its bonnet.
Mr Dhankhar remained stranded inside his car till the demonstrators were dispersed by his security personnel. Walking into the auditorium’s green room, he congratulated Prof Banerjee and signed the D.Litt for him.
Mr Dhankhar however could not go to the dais as the students shifted their agitation in front of it. The CU V-C announced of accepting the students’ demand after failing to pacify them.
Mr Dhankhar left the venue. The students’ agitation also ended. The CU V-C conferred the D.Litt on Prof Banerjee on the dais later. Mr Dhankhar vented his anger and anguish in a series of tweets.
He said, “The uppermost thought in mind while leaving Calcutta Univ-ersity 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). I hav-e signed the D.Litt (honoris causa) in the presence of Abhijeet Banne-rjee, VC and others.”
Describing Prof Banerjee “A man of sterling qualities and disarming grace, the governor underlined that he was “Greatly touched by his modest approach and depth.”