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Widespread protests mar Jadavpur University convocation, students refuse to take medal from West Bengal governor

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Widespread protests mar Jadavpur University convocation, students refuse to take medal from West Bengal governor
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The special convocation and 59th annual convocation ceremony at the Jadavpur University (JU) campus on Wednesday was marred by protests demanding the removal of vice chancellor (VC) Abhijit Chakrabarti.

 Hours before the convocation was to begin, students of JU drew graffiti on the wall, mocking the VC. As soon as the Governor, Keshari Nath Tripathi, who is also the chancellor of the University arrived at the venue, students shouting loud slogans showed him black flags.

To add to the embarrassment, the best graduate degree awardee, Gitoshree Sarkar refused to accept three of her medals from Tripathi.

After a brief dialogue, she was asked to leave the hall by the governor. “I cannot accept the degree as long as Chakrabarti is the VC. The VC has no dignity and is still not leaving his chair. We cannot forgive him for what he has done,” said Sarkar.

On the other hand, a PhD scholar, Abhishek Mitra, who accepted the degree from the hands of the VC, but showed a placard reading – ‘resignation, no negotiation’ “Your duty is to learn. Never act in a way that the reputation of the institution is diminished. Let us forget if anything untoward has happened in the past. Have a large heart to forget and forgive,” said Tripathi in his address.

Meanwhile, the chancellor and the vice chancellor left after awarding degrees to PhD scholars, amidst the convocation.

“For the first time, we have witnessed such an event, where the chancellor and the vice chancellor left before awarding degrees to all the students. They did not participate in the second phase of the convocation,” said Nilanjana Gupta, general secretary, JUTA. While the convocation was going on one side, agitators staged a protest on the other end of the campus. Students who had resorted to boycott the convocation had registered for it. Dressed in the convocation robe, one by one, they took the stage and refused the certificate.

Most of the students gave a miss to the convocation despite repeated pleas by state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee not to boycott the convocation. The students were joined by left-backed teachers association, JUTA, who were on hunger strike since December 23, who finally ended their fast on December 24 evening.  Later, the agitating students took out a huge rally inside the campus and burnt effigies of the chancellor, as well as the vice chancellor.

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