Embarrassed after a student of Jadavpur University (JU) refused to accept the graduate degree and medal during the convocation, Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi told the students to learn to forget the past and not do anything that would bring a bad name to their alma mater.
Bengali department’s Geetashri Sarkar, who showed support to her fellow students demanding removal of vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti, refused to accept the medal and certificate from Tripathi.
A visibly angry and startled Tripathi asked Sarkar to leave the podium immediately but regained his composure soon. The governor then instructed his security personnel to individually ask every student inside the auditorium if they would receive the degree from him or refuse to take the certificate.
While delivering his speech, Tripathi urged the students indirectly not to do anything that would undermine their degree and said, “As students, it is your duty to learn and put your learning to good use. Never act in such a way that the reputation of your institution is dented. If you do so, that will also undermine the value of this degree of yours.”
Urging the students to learn to forget and forgive, he said, “Let’s forget if anything untoward has happened in the past. Have a large heart and forget and forgive.” There was unprecedented police protection on campus. About 300 policemen were deployed and were being guided by a deputy commissioner and two assistant commissioners.
The students were, however, in no mood to forget and forgive. At 10 am when Tripathi’s convoy entered the university campus, the students showed him black flags. While leaving the campus amid protests, Tripathi accepted that the presence of students at the convocation was sparse but refrained from commenting on Sarkar’s move as well as the ongoing protest by the students.
Earlier in November, vicechancellor Chakarbarti had urged Tripathi to allow him to shift the venue of the convocation out of the university campus, which Tripathi had turned down. “The convocation of JU will be held within the campus as is the usual practice. I have already informed the vice chancellor about this. Those who want to boycott the convocation can do so as it is their decision and if anyone wants to create any obstacle the law will take its course.” Tripathi had told journalists after meeting Chakarbarti.
On December 18, Tripathi had said, “Students who choose to skip the convocation, I propose to send their certificates through post with a stamp on in stating that they have boycotted the convocation.” However, two days later, he retracted saying his statement was just a proposal and should not create any controversy.
In order to ensure that the students do not create uproar, even education minister Partha Chatterjee had issued a statement, saying that those who do not turn up at the convocation would not have their certificates stamped. But that has not stopped the students from boycotting the convocation.