West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said educational institutes should be “free from political interferences” and students should learn to be respectful to their fellow mates and faculty members, no matter what the differences.
The CM said she was shocked to learn that Presidency University had to change the venue for its annual convocation as the students had locked the gates of the main campus.
“I abhor the kind of politics which does not give respect to a fellow human being, the politics which does not believe in the minimum courtesy. I was so shocked to learn about Presidency, could never imagine such a thing would happen,” she said here at the convocation ceremony of University of Calcutta (CU).
Referring to a 2014 incident in Jadavpur University, where the students refused to receive certificate from the governor, the CM said such actions were “not acceptable”. “The universities are earning a bad repute because of a handful of students,” she maintained.
Banerjee also said that education should enlighten minds, not give rise to bigoted views.
Addressing the students of CU, the CM said, “You are different from them. You are not an elitist institution you belong to common people.”
Banerjee also warned against any effort to change or distort the history of our nation. “We can have debates and differences over history and science but such debates should not fuel intolerance. If you have differences with me, state that in proper way, with civility. This is the Bengal of Vivekananda, Khudiram Bose, Nazrul Islam and Asutosh Mukherjee. It cannot be a breeding ground for divisive politics,” she added.
West Bengal Governor and CU Chancellor K N Tripathi, who was present at the programme, also urged the students to concentrate on career-building.
“Universities are not playground for politics. Your primary objective is to concentrate on learning. Everything else comes secondary,” Tripathi said.