Kolkata: Jadavpur University released a statement on Wednesday saying it has divested professor Kanak Sarkar of his teaching duties with immediate effect. The move comes two days after Sarkar made the news for posting sexist comments on Facebook in which he compared virgin women to ‘sealed bottles’.
Jadavpur University professor Kanak Sarkar who made controversial remarks in a Facebook post has been divested of his duties with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/OlmdshSSUI
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2019
Earlier on the same day, JU’s vice chancellor slammed Sarkar for his statements, saying his comments had sullied the image of the institution and “stringent” action would be taken against him.
Sarkar, a professor in the international relations department, had likened a virgin woman to a “sealed bottle” or “packet” in a Facebook post on Sunday, triggering outrage. Though he later deleted the post, screenshots of it went viral.
“He is a teacher. His comment has sullied the image of the university. It will also take stringent action against him as per rules,” Das said, adding he had also “heard” that he had had made certain objectionable comments in the class in the past.
It has to be seen what kind of step could be taken against him as the statement was made on Facebook, the vice-chancellor said.
Das said he has come to know that both the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the West Bengal Commission for Women have taken suo motu cognisance of Sarkar’s statement.
The NCW on Tuesday tweeted that it has written to the state Director General of Police, Virendra to investigate the matter and take appropriate action. An NCW team would also meet the vice-chancellor to discuss the issue this week.
Das said the West Bengal Commission for Women (WBCW) has sought an explanation from Sarkar.
“He (Sarkar) has been asked an explanation (by the WBCW). We also received its letter,” Das told reporters on the sidelines of the convocation of St Xavier’s College here.
Students boycotted Sarkar’s classes on Tuesday.
Asked if he would ask the students to get back to Sarkar’s class, the vice-chancellor said he would not.
Student unions of the university on Tuesday submitted memoranda to Das, demanding strict action against the professor.
“They (students) can come and meet me. It will be seen what can be done. I also heard that he had had made certain (objectionable) comments in the class in the past,” he said.
Sarkar, in his post, wrote: “Are you willing to buy a broken seal while purchasing a bottle of cold drink or a packet of biscuits? It is the same case with your wife.
“A girl is biologically sealed from birth until it is opened. A virgin girl means many things accompanied as values, culture, sexual hygiene. To most boys, virgin wife is like angel.”
Facing criticism, a defiant Sarkar appeared to justify his comments, asserting that it was intended for “fun” among a social media group of friends and “not for public consumption”.
“Someone took a screenshot of the post and forwarded it, which triggered the response. I did not intend to hurt anyone’s sentiment or insult any woman,” he said.
He also said according to a Supreme Court order every individual is entitled to express his opinion.