In a fierce response to the letter signed by 304 educationists in support of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Visva-Bharati University has asserted that it will persist in its legal fight against Sen over alleged illegal occupation of university land. The renowned university, founded by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, remains resolute in its claim, regardless of widespread backing for Sen’s actions.
The controversy erupted after Visva-Bharati accused Amartya Sen of illegally occupying 13 decimals of the university’s land, claiming it to be a violation of a legally valid lease deed. The university expressed surprise at the determination of individuals both within India and abroad to dispute their claims.
Visva-Bharati University, through its Public Relations Officer, signed a statement affirming that it will not yield an inch on the matter, even if billions of people or prominent figures from around the world support Amartya Sen’s actions. The statement questioned the signatories of the letter to President, which included Nobel-winning economists George A Akerlof and Joseph Stiglitz, whether they would allow others to take possession of their own property.
The allegations against Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty in the letter highlighted unlawful actions, such as the suspension of students and teachers, termination of faculty employment, and the issuance of show-cause notices and chargesheets indiscriminately.
The university emphasized that it is the Vice-Chancellor’s duty to protect Visva-Bharati’s property, and reclaiming the leasehold land is in accordance with legal obligations.
The Public Relations Officer accused the signatories of being “self-proclaimed custodians of selfish interests” and stated that Visva-Bharati, being “immortal,” would remain steadfast in its fight. The timing of the letter to the President, coinciding with the local court hearing in Siuri, was also questioned as being deliberate.
Despite the confrontation, Visva-Bharati acknowledged Amartya Sen’s academic achievements and expressed faith in the robustness of the legal system to deliver justice. The university remains committed to proving its rightful claim over the disputed land, driven by its love for Gurudev Tagore and his visionary institution, Visva-Bharati.