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From Bengal governor to Jadavpur University: shut up

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 9 August 2016, 11:08 IST

Jadavpur University (JU) authorities were in for a rude shock on Monday. The Governor's office sent an instruction that university employees who will speak to the media regarding the fallacies of state government policies, will first be censored and then suspended.

This has created uproar amongst the educationists who feel that the decision will harm the autonomy of the university.

The order will be discussed at an executive council (EC) meeting scheduled for next week, following which a decision will be taken .

Senior officials of the university, however, said that they had sent a draft copy of JU's new statute to the Governor's office a few months ago and it should have been implemented. Instead, the Governor's office has highlighted this new issue to be added to the statute.

Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi said that he has received information about such an instruction, but he needs to check the file before commenting on anything.

Registrar of JU, Pradip Kumar Ghosh, also said that the matter will be discussed in the EC meeting following which a decision will be taken.

Clamping down

Professor Anandadeb Mukherjee, former VC of Vidyasagar University, said that it is illegal on the part of the state government to issue such an order. It is harming the autonomy of the university and at the same time, it is highlighting the government's dictatorial rule, Mukherjee pointed out.

Eminent educationist Professor Ashok Nath Basu said that they oppose such a move. Basu added that till now there are no provisions in the statute of the university which says that employees will be censored if they speak with the media regarding government policies.

Employees and students of JU have said that they will protest if the university authorities impose such restrictions as the right to speech is fundamental and it cannot be curbed.

What's the need to censor and suspend?

State government officials feel that such an order is necessary to bring back 'discipline' on campus. Recently JU has seen a spate of clashes amongst students and political factions over issues like film screenings.

Government officials said that the instruction has been sent to the university through the Governor's office as the Governor is the Chancellor of the university. It has also been decided that after JU, the same instruction will be sent to other state-run universities.

Resistance

While a section of JU employees have made it clear that they will protest if such an order is implemented by university authorities, WB's Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said that he will look into the matter.

According to Opposition leaders, the state government has already imposed a dictatorial rule and an order like this one is simply unacceptable.

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty said that by imposing such an order the autonomy of the university will be harmed. And that is not a good sign for the development of the state.

Significantly it may be mentioned that Partha Chatterjee has said that the state government will not accept any gherao and demonstration inside the campus and they will also not tolerate any indiscipline inside colleges and universities.

This declaration gains more importance in the light of the incident that occurred on Friday at Presidency University. Students gheraoed their registrar, for around 22 hours, overthe lack of transparency in the admission process which ended on Saturday.

Students demanded corrective measures and called off the agitation only after officials assured that they would publish the merit list for the admissions test. The gherao was lifted on Sunday morning .

Students alleged that the results of the admission test had led to confusion, particularly because the list mentions names and marks but no application numbers.

Presidency Registrar Debajyoti Konar assured students that the merit list would be published by 9 August, reiterating that there were no inconsistencies in the test.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

Also read: Clashes over film screening at Jadavpur University; female students allegedly molested

Also read: All you need to know about the Jadavpur University clashes

Also read: ABVP declares war on 'anti-national' Jadavpur University

Also read: 13 Jadavpur University students allege molestation by professor's son

First published: 9 August 2016, 11:08 IST
 
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