Standoff between authorities, students in Visva-Bharati continues

V-C not acting in a manner appropriate for his chair and its dignity, faculty association writes to PM

The standoff in Visva-Bharati between the authorities and a section of students continued on Thursday with the latter continuing their sit-in outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, saying they would not budge until those rusticated were allowed to return.

Three students — Somnath Sow and Falguni Pan of economics and Rupa Chakraborty of Hindustani classical music — were expelled for three years on August 23 for taking part in a campus protest in January 2020. Already under suspension for about nine months, they were charged with “gross indiscipline and misconduct”.

“More people — teachers, local traders, ashramites [long-time residents of Santiniketan] — have joined our protest. Our sit-in will continue until our rustication is revoked and also until the demands of those supporting us are met,” Mr. Sow, a first-year MA student, told The Hindu on Thursday.

On Wednesday, university authorities filed a writ petition in the Calcutta High Court while the V-C wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (the Chancellor), seeking their intervention in ending the protest. The matter, according to sources, is yet to come up in the court for hearing.

The university PRO, only Visva-Bharati official authorised to speak to the media, did not — as is mostly the case — answer calls for queries on how the Rabindranath Tagore-built institution intended to handle the matter.

On Thursday, the Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA), which has been a strong critic of the V-C and which is supporting the students’ protest, wrote to the Prime Minister: “Prof. Chakrabarty is not acting in a manner appropriate for his chair and its dignity. Three students have been rusticated and a large number of faculty members and employees have been suspended/issued show-cause notices, which could have been solved through dialogues and discussions for the greater cause that Visva-Bharati symbolises…Driven by megalomania, confrontational attitude and lack of vision, Prof. Chakrabarty is leading Visva-Bharati to an existential crisis.”

Source: Read Full Article