Visva-Bharati statement on Mamata Banerjee in 'poor taste': Academics

Mamata Banerjee had said students were not getting a chance to study for not toeing the university's line; the university instead said the CM made "irresponsible statements without checking facts."

Published: 03rd February 2023 07:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 07:42 PM   |  A+A-

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee

Bengal CM and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee (Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: Several academics have condemned the statement issued by Visva-Bharati University on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and said it was in "poor taste."

University spokesperson Mahua Banerjee, in a statement issued on February 1, defended the institution's disciplinary action against seven protesting students and a faculty member, and said the CM made "irresponsible statements without checking facts".

Responding to the statement, former Visva-Bharati vice chancellor Sabujkali Sen said, "I have not seen such a statement during my 40 years of association with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's dream place of learning. It is very painful to believe that the VC (Bidyut Chakraborty), an educated person, can draft such a letter which is in very poor taste."

Theatre personality Kaushik Sen said the statement reminded him of the "dadagiri of local club members."

Educationist and former vice chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University, Pabitra Sarkar, said using such words against a CM is a "matter of shame, similar to street quarrel".

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Indologist and writer Nrisinga Prasad Bhaduri said a VC, who is occupying an institutional post, cannot use such language in a statement.

Ashramite and Tagore family descendant Supriyo Tagore alleged that the VC is prone to attack whoever differs from his views.

Mahua Banerjee, when told about the criticism of the statement by several academics, said the university would not make any more comment at present and that it has "nothing else to add".

The CM, during her visit to Birbhum district on January 31, said disciplinary action taken against the students and the professor was "undemocratic and uncalled for".

Responding to the remark, Visva-Bharati, in the statement, said, "The chief minister came to the conclusion that a teacher has been suspended which is false as the said teacher has moved the court after the university recommended punishment against him and the matter is sub-judice. She has not bothered to check that the court has asked two suspended students to offer an apology and they refused and hence were not allowed to sit for a test. Another student has offered an apology and all action against him has been waived."

Five students are yet to offer an apology while the PhD female researcher has been researching for six long years without any definite result.

"The CM describing them all as victimised has not done justice to the cause of Visva Bharati or the real situation," the statement said.

The CM had said that students were not getting a chance to study for not toeing the university's line.

She said that she met seven suspended students and felt they were victimised, and that a professor was terminated from service while a research scholar was not allowed to complete the PhD.

She said that "atrocities were taking place in different forms in the esteemed institution" and called upon everyone to sink their differences and come together to "save" the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore.

Responding to the university's statement, state Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya had said that the CM rightly stood by the students and the faculty member who bore the brunt of "vendetta politics" of Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty.

Bhattacharya accused Visva Bharati of "transcending all norms" by issuing such a statement against a people's representative which showed "how much the premier institution has deviated from the principles and ideals of Gurudev Tagore during the tenure of VC Chakraborty."


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