Kolkata: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has accused the vice-chancellor of Visva Bharti of acting at the behest of the Union Government “with its growing control over Bengal”, over the raging row of his family being in “illegal” possession of the land.
Sen was born in 1933 at Santiniketan, which is home to Visva-Bharati, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore, another Nobel prize recipient.
Sen on Friday told the media that the entire land occupied by him on the hallowed campus was registered on a long-term lease that was nowhere close to expiry.
“I could comment on the big gap between Santiniketan culture and that of the V.C., empowered as he is by the central government in Delhi with its growing control over Bengal,” Sen said in his statement.
The development comes after when PM Modi on Friday, addressed the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati, following which the university reported to the West Bengal government alleging dozens of land parcels owned by it were wrongfully recorded in the names of private parties including Sen.
According to reports, the varsity said that people had set up restaurants, schools, and other businesses on its land.
Citing reports, Sen said Visva-Bharati authorities had never complained to him or his family about any irregularity in holding the land and asserted that his house stands on the land which is on a long-term lease and is nowhere near its expiry.
“Additional land was bought by my father as freehold and registered in land records under mouja Surul,” he said.
“I would prefer to use Indian laws as they exist. For mental strength, I may clutch the beautiful old picture of our home by Abanindranath Tagore, among others,” he said.
On media reports about the VC’s claim, Sen said “He would be spared the necessity of inventing completely imagined conversations with me, beginning impossibly with me introducing myself as ‘Bharat Ratna’ something that no one has ever heard me do”.
Refuting to the VC’s claim, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said “Because of his ideological anti-BJP stance, Amartyada has been subjected to such vicious attack by the present authorities of the university”.
“I respect Amartya da. Do you believe Amartya Sen has occupied land? I am offering an apology to Amartya da on behalf of Bengal,” Banerjee said.
She even wrote a letter to the noble laureate asking him to consider her as a sister and friend in his war against intolerance and totalitarianism.
Meanwhile, the BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh had Friday cautioned Sen against being “used” by people with political interests.
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