End stir by 3 pm: Calcutta high court to Visva Bharati students – Hindustan Times

Kolkata News

Students of Bengal’s Visva Bharati university must end their agitation outside the residence of the vice-chancellor by 3pm, the Calcutta high court ordered on Friday after hearing a petition the university authorities filed on Wednesday, seeking the court’s intervention to clear the impasse.

The agitators had been protesting since August 28 when three students were expelled on disciplinary grounds.

The state’s only central university — which was set up by Rabindranath Tagore at Bolpur in Birbhum district in 1921 — said in its petition that security on the campus was breached by the agitators and vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty was confined to his quarters.

In his order, justice Rajasekhar Mantha said the students must end the agitation by 3pm on Friday and move away. The V-C’s movement cannot be stopped and the district police authorities must provide three constables for his security, said the court.

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The order also said that public address systems cannot be used on the campus and students may hold a peaceful agitation 50 metres away from the administrative building.

The court asked the Visva Bharati registrar to file a report on September 8 when the students will also be heard.

Justice Mantha observed that a student agitation cannot resemble a trade union movement, said advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee who represented the university. “Justice Mantha also observed that the atmosphere on any campus must always be peaceful,” said Chatterjee.

Lawyers representing the students told the court that the gate to the V-C’s residence was not locked by the students as alleged. The lawyers also said the students did not breach any security or pose any danger to the V-C.

“We will decide our next step after studying the order,” said Rupa Chakraborty, one of the agitators, who were left with around three hours to abide by the order.

Visva Bharati, of which the Prime Minister is the chancellor, did not make any statement till 1pm.

Members of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), spearheaded the agitation. They regularly sent food items and vegetables for the V-C and his family but they refused to accept them. After Chakraborty lodged a police complaint on August 30, four constables and a sub-inspector were deployed outside his home.

Aishe Ghosh, former student union president at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University led the agitation on Tuesday.

The three students, who were suspended in January last year, took part in agitations against several actions taken by Chakrabarty and visits by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders such as Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta in 2020 and Union home minister Amit Shah before the March-April assembly polls.

The SFI alleged that the V-C was acting on behalf of the Rashtriya Shayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

In January last year, there was a student unrest when Dasgupta was invited by the authorities to speak on the Citizenship Amendment Act at a seminar. A month after this incident, Chakrabarty triggered a controversy when he said those who gather at Delhi’s Rajghat donning white caps on Gandhi Jayanti are “the country’s biggest thieves”.


Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/kolkata-news/end-stir-by-3-pm-calcutta-high-court-to-visva-bharati-students-101630662139260.html