Visva Bharati varsity locks up teachers’ association office amid campus tension
The office of the Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) was locked up by the varsity authorities who claimed that the body does not have the required strength to occupy a room on the campus.
The VBUFA claimed the decision stemmed from vindictive attitude as the teachers’ body has been protesting several steps taken by the authorities, including a lecture by BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta, and the alleged attack on students.
An official spokesman of the university, however, said while VBUFA claimed to have the support of around 300 teachers, they could not back it up and a room cannot be allotted to an organisation having two-three members.
The letter, signed by the acting registrar, read “you are advised not to occupy or operate your office in the said premises and not to force open the lock/seal, failing which administrative action will be taken against you.” The decision was communicated to the association on January 15.
VBUFA president Sudipta Bhattacharya alleged the Visva Bharati authorities were looking for an excuse “to silence our voice”.
“The VBUFA had stopped the holding of a seminar on Indian culture and heritage by an RSS-backed organisation in October in the university campus and also the decision to invite an ABVP office-bearer to the ‘Halakarshan’ festival earlier last year,” he told PTI.
Saturday and Sunday being weekly off-days, the VBUFA will decide about the future course of action in a meeting on Monday, Bhattacharya said.
Meanwhile, after Friday’s daylong agitation by Left- wing students against the forming of a three-member inquiry committee to probe the incident of alleged confinement of BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta on the campus on January 8, the situation was calm in the campus on Saturday.
The panel will also look into the alleged assault of some students in the university on January 15.
The Left students on Friday took out a protest march in front of the central office of the university, demanding that the assault on students be probed first.
SFI leader Somnath Sau said, “Once the university opens on Monday we will decide the future course of agitation.
Our peaceful movement will continue.” Visva-Bharati, founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, is a central university in Shantiniketan.
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