Published: 04th February 2022
A day's pay cut if profs fail to attend cultural event at VBU: Faculty alleges illegal action by VC
The professors said that while everyone attends the event out of respect, it is "illegal" to threaten penal action against someone who does not attend
The professors of the Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal's Santiniketan have alleged that the Vice-Chancellor Dr Bidyut Chakrabarty has threatened that a day's salary will be deducted if anyone gives the Magh Mela Baitalik — a cultural event organised by the varsity as a tradition — a miss. No official notice has been sent out about this issue.
The professors said that while everyone attends the event out of respect, it is "illegal" to threaten penal action against someone who does not attend. "Magh Mela Baitalik is a traditional event of Visva-Bharati and members of the community join voluntarily with respect to the founder (Rabindranath Tagore) and the tradition initiated by him. But attending this solemn programme under penal threat is against the idea of an academic institution," said a senior professor of the VBU Faculty Association (VBUFA).
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Another professor of the varsity confirmed that the VC issued this alleged verbal notice during a meeting with the principals and heads of departments on January 31. "He has also been doing rounds with his associates asking everyone to attend and has also threatened to deduct salary if they don't comply. At the meeting too he told the heads and the principals about his plan to penalise those who don't show up at the event," he added.
Dr Chakrabarty's tenure, ever since he took charge in November 2018, has been marred with controversies and constant clashes with the staff and students. The VC has taken some kind of action against at least 300 staff members in these years of his tenure.