A group of artistes, litterateurs and academicians came together to show their support to Nobel award-winning economist Amartya Sen outside Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata on Sunday. The group of intellectuals, considered close to the Trinamool Congress, condemned the Visva-Bharati University’s move to name Sen in its list of “illegal occupants” of the campus land.
Earlier this week, Visva-Bharati University Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty in a letter to the state government had named Sen among those who have “illegally occupied plots on the campus” – a charge denied by the Nobel laureate who has said that the land in question was registered in records on a long-term lease.
Noted Bengali poets Joy Goswami, Subodh Sarkar, painter Jogen Chowdhury, artist Shuvaprasanna, filmmaker Arindam Sil, singer Soumitra Roy and others took part in the protest meeting.
Condemning the university’s move, theatre personality and TMC minister Bratya Basu said, “Amartya Sen’s crime is that he raised his voice against the BJP government. If the BJP comes to power in Bengal, the common people will suffer. They cannot respect people like Sen who is a renowned academician and a Nobel Laureate.
“The university authorities could not save the Nobel Prize of Rabindranath Tagore. They can not honour intellectuals like Amartya Sen. As Bengalis, we are feeling really ashamed,” said artist Shuvaprasanna.
On Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to Sen and slammed the BJP for “levelling baseless allegations” against him. “We all salute Amartya Sen. Just because he isn’t inclined towards BJP’s ideology, they are levelling such allegations against him,” she had said.
Referring to the charges, Sen on Saturday said that the central university never complained about any irregularity of landholding either to him or his family. He asserted that the Visva-Bharati land on which his house is situated is entirely on a long-term lease, which is nowhere near its expiry. “Additional land was bought by my father as freehold and registered in land records under mouja Surul,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines