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VBU student files complaint against prof over ‘casteist remarks’

Somnath Sow, the complainant from the department of economics, was one of the three students expelled from the university last month for allegedly disrupting the university’s academic atmosphere and “disorderly conduct” earlier this year.

Students protest outside the central office of Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal. (PTI)

A Visva-Bharati University (VBU) student on Friday filed a police complaint against a professor for making “casteist remarks” about him.

Somnath Sow, the complainant from the department of economics, was one of the three students expelled from the university last month for allegedly disrupting the university’s academic atmosphere and “disorderly conduct” earlier this year. The rustication set off protests against the university Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty and the administration. The Calcutta High court on Wednesday set aside the university’s rustication orders.

In his complaint letter, Sow said Sangit Bhavana assistant professor Sumit Basu on Friday afternoon told him that he does not talk to a person from a Scheduled Caste (SC) community, and would lose his honour if he did. Sow alleged that the professor also called him “ a Dalit and impure”.

“Today when I accidentally met with the professor at a tea stall in Shyambati area in Bolpur. Sumit Basu hurled a casteist slur against me. He said he does not talk to an SC and he will lose his honour. Then he threatened to kill me and called me a Dalit and impure. I have lodged a complaint against him with Santiniketan police station,” Sow said.

The professor and the university administration were not available for comments. The Santiniketan police, however, said Basu had filed a complaint against the student for allegedly harassing him in public.

Meanwhile, the VBU issued a show-cause notice to economics department professor Sudipta Bhattacharya, who is already suspended, for allegedly instigating students against the vice-chancellor.

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