Bengal: Political Circles Concerned Over New Jadavpur University VC’S ‘RSS-BJP Affiliation’
Kolkata: The appointment of Buddhadev Sau, known to be associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is even the president of an RSS-run organisation, as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University has kicked up a row in West Bengal.
Jadavpur University (JU), which is in the news and has been seeing protests against the “killing” of a student in a ragging incident, has been without a VC since August beginning.
However, questions are being raised about Sau’s appointment, with many also questioning his educational qualifications.
As per JU’s rules, to become a Vice Chancellor, one needs to have 10 years’ experience as a professor, but Sau has been teaching only since 2015, sources told People’s Reporter. Many critics also believe the reasons for his appointment are political.
The previous VC, Suranjan Das’s term ended on May 31, after which he submitted his resignation letter to Governor CV Anand Bose. The Governor then appointed Amitabh Dutta, a professor of engineering from Jadavpur, as the temporary VC, but on August 4, he, too, resigned. After that, Jadavpur University was without a Vice-Chancellor.
The new VC, who was quickly appointed by Governor Bose after the uproar caused by the unnatural death of a Jadavpur university hostel student on August 9, is allegedly the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Sikshak Mahasangh, which is affiliated to the RSS.
Why did the Governor choose a professor associated with RSS, are among questions being raised in political circles.
CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty flayed the appointment of Sau as the new VC. "A new VC is good. But what will happen to this VC? The registrar will go to the Trinamool meeting on July 21, and the VC will work for the RSS-BJP. This is how the education system is being damaged. The chief minister is looking for people from the TMC, and the governor is from BJP,” he told People’s Reporter.
Chakraborty claimed that after Sau’s appointment, deans of various departments were resigning. “In fact, no one can accept the Governor's decision. So, they are protesting by resigning," he added.
CPI(M) politburo member Nilotpal Basu, in a Facebook post, wrote, "In fact, all over the country, RSS-Modi's loved ones have been seated in the Raj Bhavan. And they are the ones who are continuing these Tughlaqi activities… A whimsical decision with no consultation, no search committee, and no panel. But this is the first such direct RSS-linked recruitment that I have come across."
He continued: "Is the new VC of Jadavpur, Buddhadev Sau, the current president of the West Bengal branch organisation of the Nationalist Professors and Researchers Sangh under the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh of RSS? He told a news channel yesterday, that no, he is not their member. What a lie!"
Basu also posted the decisions of the annual general meeting of the All India Rashtriya Shaikshi Maha Sangh in December 2021, along with the names of office bearers and advisors from 2021 to 2024. According to this document, Buddhadev Sau is the president of the organisation.
Sau was unanimously elected president of the Nationalist Professors and Researchers Association's 26-member state executive committee in December 2021. This is the Bengal chapter of the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (ABRSM), which has close ties to both RSS and BJP.
As per norms, a five-member search committee comprising nominees from the state government, the Governor, the University Grants Commission, and the Council of Higher Education normally appoints the VC in a central university like JU. In this case, state officials claim that the Governor acted unilaterally, without even contacting the state education department.
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