Jadavpur University professor Kanak Sarkar who had made controversial remarks in a Facebook post has been divested of his duties with immediate effect, according a notice issued by the Department of International Relations of the university.
As students and teachers of Jadavpur University (JU) and a large section of people across Bengal fumed at the professor for his social media post comparing a “virgin girl” to “sealed bottle or sealed packet,” the vice chancellor on Tuesday had promised stringent action.
“The incident is unfortunate and this is not desired from a professor. We will take action according to law. I have convened a meeting on Wednesday,” JU vice chancellor Suranjan Das said after a students’ delegation met the joint registrar on Tuesday.
JU is one of the most premier institutions in the country and remains a hotbed of student politics.
Since Sarkar, a professor of international relations, had allegedly made objectionable remarks, both on campus and social media, several times in the past, students said they would file specific complaints of sexual harassment against him.
“The social media is not part of the JU campus but the authorities can take punishable action if students file direct complaints of sexual harassment and abuse against Sarkar,” said Snehabrishti Nandi, a spokesperson of the arts faculty student’s union.
Even as JU students staged agitation where many demanded the teacher’s expulsion, Sarkar continued to defend himself. “My expressions may not have been proper but my intentions were not bad. In the past, I wrote numerous posts against rape and atrocities on women,” said Sarkar who came to the campus on Tuesday but did not take classes.
Sarkar triggered an uproar by comparing a “virgin girl” to “sealed bottle or sealed packet” in a post. “Many boys remain fool. They are not aware of virgin girl as wife,” he wrote.
After the post went viral, Sarkar removed it on Monday morning and wrote another one a few hours later, saying he was free to express his opinion.
“Supreme Court has repealed Section 66A of Information Technology Act and given freedom of expression in social media,” Sarkar wrote. The second post invited another barrage of scathing criticism from intellectuals across Bengal.
JU students and a section of teachers, most of them women, burst out in anger. They alleged that Sarkar had been writing objectionable posts and making similar remarks on campus for a long time.