Activist state

Prominent figures oppose Mamata Banerjee becoming chancellor of public universities, decry blow to freedom

Actor, directors, painter, comedian and activists among the 40 signatories who are “surprised and amazed” by the appointment of the Prime Minister.

Actor, directors, painter, comedian and activists among the 40 signatories who are “surprised and amazed” by the appointment of the Prime Minister.

Renowned personalities in West Bengal have expressed their displeasure over the appointment of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as Chancellor of Public Universities, saying the move will “deal a blow” to the autonomy of universities and is contrary to the spirit of democracy.

Among the 40 signatories are actor Kaushik Sen, directors Anik Dutta and Raja Sen, painter Samir Aich, comedian Bibhas Chakraborty, social activist Miratun Nahar and rights activist Sujato Bhadra.

The group also said the state cabinet’s decision ignored people’s long-standing demand for a prominent educationist as chancellor.

“We are surprised and amazed at the recent decision to appoint the Chief Minister as Chancellor of State Universities. We all know the imperatives of autonomy and freedom of educational institutions, and such a decision will strike a blow to this, and goes against the spirit of democracy,” they said in a statement on Saturday.

If an educator is appointed to this position, it will prevent outside interference in the functioning of institutions, they added.

Since taking power, the current regime has appointed its own people to lead primary and secondary education boards, school management committees and governing bodies of higher education institutions, according to the communicated.

“The decision to appoint the Minister of Education as the ‘visitor’ of private universities also carries the same danger of interference in their affairs,” he added.

“I am opposed to this appointment as much as we are against the practice of the governor becoming chancellor,” Kaushik Sen said. PTI.

The government is likely to propose a bill during the ongoing monsoon session of the assembly regarding the cabinet decision to replace Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar with the Chief Minister as Chancellor of State-run Universities.

An amendment bill to revoke Mr Dhankhar as a “visitor” of private universities in the state and appoint Education Minister Bratya Basu in his place is also expected to be tabled during the session.

Meanwhile, Save Education Committee secretary Tarun Naskar said educators would gather outside the University of Calcutta campus at 2 p.m. on June 13 to protest the decision.