Kolkata: A Jadavpur University professor whose Facebook post likening a virgin woman to a "sealed bottle" has sparked outrage was on Wednesday divested of his teaching duties and barred entry into the campus with immediate effect, pending inquiries against him.
University Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das told reporters that Prof Kanak Sarkar's comment is akin to "blackening the face of the institution and the entire teaching community".
"In view of the recommendation of the department of International Relations Prof Kanak Sarkar is divested of his teaching duties with immediate effect. Substitute arrangements will be decided in the meeting of the Board of Studies on January 18," a university notification said.
Sarkar, a professor of International Relations department, had posted the misogynist remark on Sunday. Though he had deleted the post, screenshots of it went viral.
The VC said Sarkar will not be allowed to take classes or enter the varsity campus with immediate effect till the inquiries by the university-appointed committee, the West Bengal Women's Commission and National Women's Commission are over.
"We took the step after talking to students and department of International Relations and the internal code of conduct committee of the institute on the issue," Das said.
The JU head of department of international relations, Omprakash Mishra, said several written complaints of alleged inappropriate conduct during classes had been made against the professor by students of the department.
The department had acted on the basis of complaints and recommendations of the student-teacher committee. "He (Sarkar) will not be allowed to teach or attend the offices of the faculty with immediate effect," he said.
A top university official said the institute is taking stringent measures against Sarkar in consultation with legal experts "in sync with the statute of the institute."
The JU VC said he had also heard from students that Sarkar had made objectionable comments in the classroom in the past. "They (students) can come and meet me. It will be seen what can be done".
The students had boycotted the professor's classes on Tuesday and student unions had submitted a memorandum to Das demanding strict action against him.
Sarkar had written in his Facebook post on Sunday, "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 outrage and criticism, Sarkar, who has been teaching in the university for over two decades, had tried to justify his comments by saying it was "intended for fun in a social media group of friends and not for public consumption".
"Someone took a screenshot of the post and forwarded it in the social media, which triggered the response. I did not intend to hurt anyone's sentiment or insult any woman," he had told PTI on Tuesday.
He had also said according to a Supreme Court order every individual is entitled to express his opinion and alleged that he was being harassed by a section of the pro-Left teachers of the university who are "instigating the students".
Sarkar could not be contacted on Wednesday despite multiple efforts. Das said he had come to know that the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the West Bengal Commission for Women (WBCW) have taken suo motu cognisance of the professor's statement.
"He (Sarkar) has been asked to give an explanation by the WBCW. We (university) too received its letter," Das told reporters on the sidelines of a programme here.
The NCW had 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 on this issue this week....