Debjit Mukherjee, Birbhum: The verbal tussle between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Visva Bharati University (VBU) Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty over Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen`s unauthorised possession of land at Bolpur-Santiniketan in Birbhum district took a murkier turn with the university authorities issuing a statement accusing the chief minister “of seeing through her ears”. On January 30, the chief minister, as a counter to the accusation by Chakraborty of Sen occupying 1.38 acres of land, which is excess of his legal entitlement of 1.25 acres, handed over to the Nobel laureate the land holding records of the state Land & Land Reforms Department, which shows his legal entitlement over the entire 1.38 acres of land that he is occupying.
The very next day while speaking at a public meeting, the chief minister said that the students, teachers and non-teaching staff of the university were suffering because of the “autocratic” behaviour of the highest authorities of the university. The chief minister also said that she would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter.
In reaction to these two developments, the university authorities late Wednesday evening issued a statement where it accused the chief minister of “seeing through her ears”. The statement signed by the university`s chief public relation officer Mahua Ganguly claimed that the university would be better off without the chief minister`s blessings as it is walking in the path shown by the Prime Minister.
Urging the chief minister to develop her opinion based on facts and not on hearsay, the statement also referred to the events of senior Trinamool Congress leaders being jailed on charges of teachers` recruitment irregularities and cattle-smuggling scams.
In the statement, it was claimed that a minister and vice-chancellors are behind the bars now because the chief minister took decisions based on inputs given to her by her toadies. “Your favourite follower without whom you could never imagine Birbhum is currently in jail,” read the statement making a slating a reference to Trinamool Congress` Birbhum district president, Anubrata Mondal, who is currently in judicial custody for his alleged involvement in the cattle-smuggling scam.
Reacting to the statement, Trinamool Congress`s state general secretary and the party`s spokesman in West Bengal, Kunal Ghosh, said that it is unfortunate the vice-chancellor of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore-founded Visva Bharati University is claiming to walk in the path shown by the Prime Minister instead of that shown by Gurudev. “It proves that this central university is no longer an educational institution. Rather, it is a breeding ground for future BJP workers,” he said.