Updated: September 6, 2021 4:33:57 am
One of the three students rusticated by Visva-Bharati University (VBU) last month began a hunger strike on Sunday to demand the withdrawal of the expulsion order. The rustication has set off protests by a section of students and the faculty against Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Bidyut Chakraborty.
Rupa Chakraborty started the hunger strike in the afternoon. She said, “We have been protesting against the expulsion order for last nine days. But the authorities did not pay heed to our demands. Therefore, we have decided to change our form of protest. The hunger strike will continue unless the expulsion order is revoked.”
Visva Bharati Professor Sudipta Bhattacharya who has been suspended by the university administration also started a relay hunger strike in solidarity with Rupa. On August 23, the university rusticated Rupa, Somnath Sow, and Falguni Pan for “disrupting the academic atmosphere in the university compound by assembling at Chhatimtala on January 9 and being involved in disorderly conduct in the name of protest”.
Following the 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 expulsion 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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