After Boycotting Meeting Called by Bengal Governor, 20 VCs Form Association for 'Betterment of Education'
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar alleged the VCs were under pressure from ruling TMC but the association denied the charge.
File photo of West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Kolkata: A day after no state university vice-chancellors turned up at Raj Bhavan to attend a meeting called by Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the vice-chancellors of 20 universities in the state formed an association under the banner of ‘Upacharya Parishad’ on Tuesday.
The association of vice-chancellors, of which Jadavpur University (JU) VC Suranjan Das was appointed president on Wednesday, could be significant in the midst of a standoff between the state government and Dhankhar who faced protests and failed to attend the convocation at JU.
On December 24, 2019, the Governor was forced to leave JU as administrative officials in the ‘court meeting’ decided to go ahead with the convocation without him due to protests against him by a section of students and teaching staff.
Following the incident, Dhankhar called the VCs at Raj Bhavan to discuss various issues on Monday. However, no one turned up for the meeting.
One of the VCs said there were legal difficulties in attending the meeting following the passage of the West Bengal Universities and College (Administration and Regulation) Act, 2017, in December last year. Under the amended rule, vice-chancellors cannot to attend a meeting without the consent of state higher education department.
Addressing the media, Dr Subires Bhattacharyya from University of North Bengal and secretary of the ‘Upacharya Parishad’, said: “We were planning to form an association for a long time. We thought there should be a platform of vice-chancellors for the betterment of education in universities.”
Responding to the Governor’s allegation that vice-chancellors are under pressure from the ruling TMC government, he said: “I don’t want to comment on what he is saying. All I can say that we are not under any pressure from the state government. We are functioning independently to improve the quality of education in state universities.”
Interestingly, Dr Subires Bhattacharyya; VC of Sidho Kanho Birsha University Dipak Kumar Kar; and VC of Panchanan Barma University in Cooch Behar Dr Debkumar Mukhopadhyay were seen sitting beside state education minister Partha Chatterjee in an anti-NRC demonstration.
Reacting to the development, the Governor told the media: “They (VCs) are under fear. They are in captivity. They told me privately that they are under pressure and fear.”
State education minister Partha Chatterjee rubbished the allegations and said there is no pressure on the VCs in the state.
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