VBU VC was never stopped from moving out of his house by students: Bengal govt advocate tells Calcutta HC

The single-judge bench with Justice Rajasekhar Mantha asked the authorities to restore normalcy on campus and stop the protests
Visva Bharati University (Pic: Sourced)
Visva Bharati University (Pic: Sourced)

The Vice-Chancellor of the Visva-Bharati University was never prevented from moving in or out of his residence, said Advocate Amitesh Banerjee, representing the West Bengal government at the hearing of a writ petition filed by the university alleging inaction by police administration in restoring normalcy on campus.

The single-judge bench with Justice Rajasekhar Mantha asked the authorities to restore normalcy on campus and stop the protests. Demonstrations are banned within 50 metres of "any portion or part of the University, particularly, the schools, classrooms, the residence of the Vice-Chancellor, teachers, professors, officials, staff library, the administrative building's laboratories etc". The judge also said that the rest of the issues will be resolved at a later date. The court adjourned the matter to be heard on September 8.

While the court has directed the police to remove the protest site 50 metres away from the residence of the VC, the submissions of the State's counsel accused the varsity of lying on oath. The judge said that this issue will be taken up later. The counsel also said that the state had sent "Medical Officers to examine the VC headed by the Sub-Divisional Officer but were refused access by his own family members". This is completely in contrast to the varsity's claim that the students did not allow the medical officers to step in and denied the VC medical attention.

Shamim Ahmed, appearing on behalf of the students, submitted that the three students have been rusticated from the university in violation of the rules. "It is submitted that they could not avail the opportunity of appeal. It is submitted that the Vice-Chancellor is functioning in a high-handed manner. Illegal and harsh orders have also been passed against the previous Registrar and other professors and teachers," read the order. 

Banerjee also spoke in support of the students and added that the students never put locks on the gates as claimed by the varsity counsel. "Banerjee further submits that the locks on administrative building, library and other parts of the University have been placed by the University’s own Security Guards and not by the students," recorded the court order.

While the students complied with the directions and said that the protest will continue but they respect the court's judgment.  A section of faculty members at Viswa-Bharati also shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who happens to be the Chancellor of the university, requesting him to take appropriate action to save this august institution "from further degeneration" as a protest by students over the expulsion of three peers entered the sixth day on Thursday. "While the Honourable Chancellor interacts with students of this vast country on a regular basis, Professor Chakraborty failed to talk to the students who are like our sons and daughters. Driven by confrontational attitude and lack of vision, professor Chakraborty is leading Visva-Bharati to an existential crisis," the VBUFA alleged in its letter to Modi.

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