Updated: September 7, 2021 10:04:19 am
The Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) has written to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, urging him to save the central university from serious problems arising out of Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty’s “autocratic actions”. The letter, dated September 5, came amid a students’ protest against the expulsion of three students.
“With great pain, we the faculty members of Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal, would like to draw your kind attention to a series of serious problems and pressing issues resulting from the whimsical and autocratic actions of the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Bidyut Chakrabarty, which in turn have been adversely affecting the teaching, learning and research atmosphere in the campus,” read the letter.
The teachers’ body alleged that “irregular disbursement of salary and unauthorised salary cut” had become a “regular event” at Visva Bharati. It added, “Salary disbursement has been deliberately delayed several times (February, June and July 2020 and July 2021) adding to the woes of the staff. The administration has forcibly deducted from the salary on several occasions.”
The faculty also mentioned the show cause notices, charge sheets and suspension orders issued against its members on the flimsiest of grounds.
“Several faculty members have been show-caused/suspended/terminated by the Vice-Chancellor, at the flimsiest of excuses, apparently to satisfy the VC’s personal ego. This is directly causing harassment, humiliation and academic loss to teachers and students. Legal cases against the University have increased exponentially, resulting in the harassment of employees and huge financial loss to the university,” read the letter.
The faculty body also mentioned that since October 2018 Chakraborty had not filled the vacant positions of Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Finance Officer, and directors.
“There are around 15 police complaints on criminal ground lodged against the Vice-Chancellor, including those by faculty members, during his tenure. It gives a clear indication of his unlawful activities,” added the VBUFA.
On Sunday, one of the three students whom VBU rusticated last month began a hunger strike to demand the withdrawal of the expulsion order. Rupa Chakraborty had been expelled on August 23 along with Somnath Sow and Falguni Pan for “disrupting the academic atmosphere in the university…and being involved in disorderly conduct in the name of protest”.
Following their expulsion, a section of students started a sit-in outside the V-C’s residence on the night of August 27. They demanded the revocation of the order and the V-C’s removal. However, on September 3, the Calcutta High Court, in an interim order, barred demonstrations outside the residence of Bidyut Chakraborty. Expressing concern, the court said protests cannot be held within 50 metres of either the academic and administrative buildings on the university campus or the V-C’s home.
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