A professor of West Bengal’s Jadavpur University has sparked outrage with a Facebook post in which he compared a woman’s virginity to a “sealed bottle”, News18 reported. He deleted the post later but said on Sunday that he stood by the statement.
“Are you willing to buy a broken seal while purchasing a bottle of cold drink or a packet of biscuits? A girl is born sealed from birth until it is opened,” Kanak Chandra Sarkar, a professor at the university’s Department of International Relations, had written in the post. “A virgin girl means many things accompanied with values, culture, and sexual hygiene. To most boys virgin wife is like angel.”
Sarkar later told News18: “I have not said anything wrong. As per the constitution, it’s my right to present my expression. There is freedom of expression and speech. There may be minor mistakes from my side but the bottom line is I have not done anything wrong as per law.”
In another Facebook post on Sunday, Sarkar sought to clarify his views and said the Supreme Court had given freedom of expression on social media by repealing Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. The controversial law allowed citizens to get arrested for offensive content.
“I have not written anything against any person, individual or anybody without any evidence or proof or any reference,” he wrote. “I am doing social research and writing for the good and well-being of society.”
Sarkar said the controversial post had been uploaded to a public group, and that people were sharing screenshots. “It’s everybody’s right to express his [or] her thoughts,” he said, adding that he had written several posts favouring women.
Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association General Secretary Partha Prarim Ray said the association condemned the misogynistic and sexist comments made by Sarkar, Times Now reported.
West Bengal Commission for Women chairperson Leena Gangopadhyay said Sarkar’s comments were an indication that there had been little change in the mindset of “certain people”, The Times Of India reported. “Some tend to see women only in this manner and such statements reflect that, time and again,” she said. “Whatever it is that may have provoked the statement, even perhaps to seek attention, is condemnable.”
According to the university’s website, Sarkar specialises in political sociology, political thought, the Constitution and government, human rights and law, development administration, and ethnicity and terrorism.