VBU-Amartya Sen row: Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz signs revised petition to Prez Murmu against VC

On July 19, a revised petition containing 304 names, including those of Nobel Laureate in Economics, Prof Joseph Stiglitz, and professor emeritus, Prof Amiya Kumar Bagchi, was submitted to the Prez 
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

In response to the distressing circumstances involving Visva-Bharati University (VBU) and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen over a portion of his ancestral property, a revised petition has been submitted to President Draupadi Murmu. This petition has garnered significant attention and support, with notable academics, professionals, researchers, students, alumni, ashramiks, and concerned citizens from various civil society organisations voicing their concerns. On July 19, a revised petition containing a total of 304 names, including those of Nobel Laureate in Economics, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, and distinguished professor emeritus, Professor Amiya Kumar Bagchi, was submitted to the President.

“Two distinguished academicians have expressed their desire to have their names included in the earlier petition. Therefore, we are submitting a revised petition with a total of 304 names,” states the petition letter, signed by President of the VBU Faculty Association (VBUFA), Prof Sudipta Bhattacharyya. 

The petition pleads for action against Vice-Chancellor (VC) Bidyut Chakrabarty, accusing him of various atrocities, including unlawful suspension of students and teachers, illegal termination of faculty members and staff, and suppressing dissent within the university. During Bidyut Chakrabarty's tenure as VC, VBU faced numerous legal litigations at the Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

“The latest target of his draconian rule is Professor Amartya Sen (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1998) an alumnus of Visva-Bharati,” states the petition. 

To recall, according to VBU, Sen has been allegedly occupying 13 decimals of the land of the university in an unauthorised manner. On the other hand, Sen has vehemently denied the allegations and maintained that while VBU had leased 1.25 acres of land to his father for a specific period, the contentious 13 decimals of land were purchased by his father, and he possesses all the necessary documents to prove the same. The university’s moves against Amartya Sen have been marred by allegations of political vendetta. As a constant critic of the Central government, Sen has been at the receiving end of this land dispute since 2020, despite refutation by both Mamata Banerjee and himself.

The petition earnestly calls for the preservation of academic integrity and the protection of individuals from unwarranted attacks. The situation involving Professor Amartya Sen and the actions of Vice-Chancellor (VC) Bidyut Chakrabarty at VBU has sparked widespread concern among the academic community and beyond.

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