Visva-Bharati Land Row: Mamata Backs Amartya Sen, Hands Over Land Documents

31 January, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

mamata National

WB CM Mamata Banerjee handed over land-related paperwork to Sen on Monday, saying that "no one can challenge him" going forward.

Amartya Sen, the recipient of the Nobel Prize, has been accused of “unauthorised occupation” by Visva-Bharati. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over land-related paperwork to Sen on Monday, saying that “no one can challenge him” going forward.

The chief minister visited Mr. Sen at his home and referred to the accusations levelled against him as being “baseless” when he arrived in Bolpur in the second half of the day.

The Nobel laureate would now receive “Z category” security, the chief minister also declared.

“Allegations of land grabbing against him (Amartya Sen) are baseless. It is an attempt to tarnish his reputation. No one has the right to insult him. We won’t tolerate it,” the chief minister said as the economist sat beside her.

The CM stated that after she returned to Kolkata, her government will decide on the next step in the legal process.

Visva-Bharati, in a missive last week, asked Mr Sen to immediately hand over parts of a plot he was allegedly occupying in an “unauthorised manner” at Santiniketan.

The varsity also gave Sen two options — “intervention of the court of law or discussion with Visva-Bharati authority”.

The CM said, “I have been hearing baseless allegations against him for a long time… I waited as I went through the records and also asked officials to do the same. We have dug out the original land records. I will direct the district magistrate to do what is needed,” she said.

Additionally, she gave the order for a police camp to be established up in front of Sen’s Birbhum home.

Lashing out at varsity authorities for “trying to saffronise” the institution, the TMC boss said she has immense “respect for Visva-Bharati” but was “pained to see the central university function like an island disconnected from the rest of Bengal”.

She urged the BJP and its associates to “stop humiliating the Nobel laureate, who has not just made Bengal but the entire country proud”.

Hitting out at Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty over his allegations against Mr Sen, the chief minister wondered whether he is worthy of holding the position.

“He (Chakraborty) is attempting to saffronise the university. He has no right to insult someone. Is he even worthy of being the V-C of Visva-Bharati?” she said.

Later that evening, the state government issued a news release in which it claimed that after reviewing documents, investigators had discovered that Mr. Sen had not, according to Visva-claims, Bharati’s illegally taken any land.

“The state government has checked all old land records. It was found that Ashutosh Sen, father of Professor Sen, has been given a long-term lease of 1.3 acres and not 1.25 acres as alleged by Visva-Bharati,” the release added.