Mamata upset over student unrest

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday expressed shock over militant student politics in premier universities like Presidency and Jadavpur and said she had no faith in politics that did not treat people with respect.

“I was so shocked to hear that Presidency University was selecting Raj Bhavan for convocation. Also, when the respected Governor visited Jadavpur University, students refused to accept certificate from him. I don’t believe in that kind of politics that doesn’t give people their due respect,” Banerjee said at the annual convocation of Calcutta University.

Banerjee asserted that there should be courtesy in politics.

“If there is no courtesy and decency, then I think that there is something lacking in education as education is all about enlightenment,” she said.

Following student protests against the authorities’ alleged failure to shift them back to the Eden Hindu Hostel, the Presidency University authorities had in September mulled shifting the venue to Raj Bhavan to hand over the honorary degrees.

But the plan was shelved as no formal advance intimation had been sent to the Raj Bhavan.

The convocation ceremony was then held off campus at a film complex “Nandan” and only the honorary degrees were awarded.

In 2014, a large section of students boycotted the 59th annual convocation of Jadavpur University. Some of them refused to accept their certificates from the governor K.N. Tripathi – the ex-officio chancellor – demanding removal of Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti for ordering a police crackdown on some protestors.

Banerjee appreciated Calcutta University’s value system. “Students are the asset and in Calcutta University students come from different backgrounds and emerge as successful citizens. Old values of this university are golden.”

Tripathi, the ex-officio Chancellor, congratulated everyone for earning their degrees and reminded the students that their primary objective was learning.

“Universities are not a playground for politics. They are temples for acquiring greater, higher, special knowledge in their chosen subject,” he said.

The university conferred honorary DLitt on former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

Paediatrician Dilip Mahalanabis, who pioneered the use of oral rehydration therapy, and eminent physician Sukumar Mukherjee were also awarded honorary DSc degrees.

An estimated 498 researchers were awarded PhD certificates, 236 M Phil and 113 LLM (Masters of Legislative Law) certificates during the convocation,