Governor, Mr Jagdeep Dhankhar today, lashed out at anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens protesters staging a dharna near Kolkata Municipal Corporation, saying that the Constitution of the country gives the right to protest but it cannot be violent.

The governor, speaking during the celebration of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, said, “No protest can attack the rights of others. We should think of giving something to the country. Had Netaji wanted, he could have lived an easy life. But he chose to go around the world and fight for freedom of the country. We can at least do this much for him that we should ignore a few things and should only concentrate on the peace of the state.”

The Governor further said, “We must not have an image of a state that believes in violence. In 2019 I have seen stones being pelted on trains, tracks being destroyed and railway stations being torched. This cannot be the culture of West Bengal. No great man in West Bengal has said to do this. They have taught us to live in harmony and peace.”

On the students’ protest at the Jadavpur University convocation last month, Mr Dhankhar said, “The people of Jadavpur University have the right to protest. However, do they have the right to stop the chancellor’s car? Do they have the right to stop the chancellor from fulfilling his duties? Everyone including the government has to do soul searching and think what action has been taken against those people who stopped the chancellor’s car. Shouldn’t there have been some steps against them? If people affiliated to a political party decide that wherever the chancellor goes, they will sit on dharna in front of his car and there will not be any action against them, it is anarchy. We can’t have this kind of system. The rule of law has to be followed by all.”

Slamming a section of vice chancellors who were seen sharing dharna stage with state education minister Partha Chatterjee last week, the governor said, “In case of universities, the role of the chancellor is limited and that of the government is limited to a greater extent. Neither the chancellor nor the government should control universities. The universities must be autonomous bodies. How much will a chancellor be pained if these institutions are involved in politics and the vice-chancellor sits on dharna with the political parties? It is something that the vice chancellors are prohibited to do. It is a serious misconduct.”

Hoping for peaceful election in Bengal in the forthcoming days, the governor said, “Election violence bleeds our hearts. Democracy has one root that is the power of voting. Right to vote, therefore, should be free, fair and fearless. I am scared of the situation when one is scared to cast vote. The fabric of democracy is tainted when people are scared of casting their votes. If anyone has to bear anything for casting his or her vote, it is not for democratic systems. Let us strengthen the roots of democracy. Let us think of exercising our right to vote fearlessly and let there be no consequences of such exercise. In the forthcoming elections, the country will get to know that West Bengal believes in peaceful methods of voting and we have no place for violence. We can’t be intolerant to anyone. This is the culture of West Bengal. Netaji would have never wanted that in independent India, Bengal should not be known only for violence during elections and otherwise.”

Taking a dig at the state government on the issue of farmers, said, “I am pained to see that while the farmers of the country are getting around 50 crores, in West Bengal around 70 lakh farmers are not getting it. I have found out that the funding for the farmers of the state amounts to more than 4,000 crores. The state government does not contribute to it and this is totally funded by the central government. But the farmers of Bengal are not getting the four thousand crores because one government is not furnishing details to another government. Despite the fact that the state has nothing to do but only furnish details, the farmers are not getting the benefit. In the Indian Constitution, there is no place for any face-off between the state and the central governments. There can be arrogance between individuals and not between institutions. What is the fault of the farmers who are not getting the benefit because of the clashes?”

Lambasting some political parties without naming them for criticising the change of name of Kolkata Port Trust, Mr Dhankhar said, “It is painful to see that there are disputes arising in changing the name of Kolkata Port trust to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. The Prime Minister of the country has given it the name of such a person who gave up his life for Article 370. He became VC at such a young age and has contributed so much. There should be nothing but happiness on this occasion.”