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Visva-Bharati University, Mamata Banerjee hits new low

February 2, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

The fight between Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Visva-Bharati University reached a new low with the varsity in an  unprecedented move, attacking the chief minister by issuing a press statement against her and accusing her of “seeing through her ears” and “provoking students to follow a wrong path”.

The statement written in Bengali on the institution’s letterhead and signed by the university’s public relations officer, Mahua Banerjee, read: “ Visva Bharati is the only central university (in Bengal). We will be better off without your blessings because we are used to the margdarshan shown by the prime minister…. Do most of the state-run universities currently maintain their desired standards? We request you not to provoke students and teachers who follow your patronage into treading the wrong path…..”

In the letter the varsity urged the chief minister to build her opinion based on facts. “ See through your eyes and not through your ears. Please voice your opinion on the basis of facts. Don’t forget that you are the chief minister of West Bengal. It is also your duty to protect the dignity of this state …”, the statement read.

Banerjee had been camping at Bolpur where Visva-Bharati is located since January 30 and has attended a series of political and administrative meetings there.

She had accused the university vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty of “saffronising” the university founded by Tagore.

On Monday, when Mamata reached Bolpur she had rushed to Pratichi, the home of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, accused by Chakrabarty of encroaching on Visva-Bharati land . Mamata had handed over a set of land-related papers to prove the charges brought against the economist baseless.

On Wednesday she had said that she would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is also the chancellor of Visva-Bharati about the problems faced by students, teachers and old-timers of Santiniketan under the university’s present regime.

The chief minister had also met some students, a recently sacked economics professor and members of the Tagore family. They had told the chief minister how the varsity administration under vice-chancellor, Bidyut Chakrabarty had punished students, teachers and old-timers who raised objection to the Chakarabarty’s attempts to “saffronise” the campus.

“ He (Bidyut Chakrabarty) is running Visva-Bharati according to his whims and trying to saffronise the campus,” Mamata had said.

Also Read: Visva-Bharati asks economist Amartya Sen to hand over unauthorised land

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