Kolkata: Two days after Visva Bharati accused Nobel laureate Amartya Sen of "unauthorised occupation," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday came out in support of the economist and handed over the land-related documents to the octogenarian.
The central university had asked the Sen to hand over a part of the plot where his residence is located in Santiniketan, citing "illegal" occupation.
Mamata, who met Sen at his residence during her visit to Birbhum, called the accusations against him as "baseless." She also announced that the Nobel laureate would be accorded 'Z+ category' security in future.
"The people of Bengal are unhappy with the way the Nobel laureate has been humiliated. Allegations of land grabbing against him (Sen) are baseless. It is an attempt to malign his reputation. No one has the right to insult him. We won’t tolerate it. I have collected the original records of his land and handed them over to him. Z-plus security will be provided for him,’’ said Mamata, after meeting the economist.
Only Mamata and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee have a 'Z+ category' security over in the state.
The letter issued to Sen by Visva Bharati on January 27 stated: "You are in possession of 1.38 acre of land which is in excess of your legal entitlement of 1.25 acre. Kindly return the land to Visva Bharati as early as possible since the application of the laws of the land will cause embarrassment to you and also to Visva Bharati which you endear so much."
According to the university authorities, Visva Bharati had leased out the land and a portion of Sen’s plot is a part of it which he has been asked to hand over. This was the second letter issued to Sen by Visva Bharati asking him to hand over the land leased out by the university.
Visva Bharati's letter to Sen came days after the Nobel laureate’s remark that Mamata has the qualities to become the Prime Minister of the country.
Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre, Mamata said, "I want Visva Bharati to run properly instead of attempts to saffronise the hallowed institution."
The Bengal CM also said her government will decide the next course of legal action once she is back in Kolkata.
Urging the Union education minister to take note, Mamata said, "Now the Visva Bharati functions like an island, disconnected from the rest of Bengal. Those who insult Amartya Sen must remember they will have to bow down and apologise one day."