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Viswa Bharati will write to PM Modi, seek central forces

The varsity was shut down indefinitely on Monday following violent protests against decision to construct boundary wall

DEBAJYOTI CHAKRABORTY | Shantiniketan | Updated :

Visva Bharati authorities have decided to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for the deployment of central security forces on its premises, a day after vandalism forced its closure, a top official of the prestigious institution said on Tuesday.

The heritage university founded by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was shut down indefinitely on Monday following violent protests against Visva Bharati’s decision to construct a boundary wall around the venue of Poush Mela, a prestigious annual cultural event started more than a century ago.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Bidyut Chakraborty presided over the Executive Council meeting today at Shantiniketan. Earlier also several times the VBU has sought CISF jawans from the Centre to protect its campus.

The campus wore a deserted look today after the VBU authority issued notifications for the shutdown of the central varsity for an indefinite period yesterday after the ruckus in the campus by a mob of over 1000 people.

On the directives of CM Mamata Banerjee, the district magistrate of Birbhum, Moumita Godara Basu has called a meeting tomorrow in which police super Shyam Singh, students associations, members of the Bolpur traders association will be present. VC Professor Bidyut Chakraborty has also been invited to the meeting.

Meanwhile today, VBU authorities have lodged a written FIR at Shantiniketan Police Station against twelve people including the Trinamul MLA of Dubrajpur, Naresh Bauri.

An alumnus of VBU, MLA Naresh Bauri was present during the vandalism period at the campus yesterday, said he had gone there as a former student of the institute.

Mr Supriyo Tagore, who is a member of the Tagore family has also criticised the decision of the VBU authority to erect a boundary wall and fencing on the Poush Mela ground and said that it is against the ideology and dream of an ‘open university’ by its founder Rabindranath Tagore.

According to Shyam Singh, the Birbhum district superintendent of police, nine persons have been arrested for campus violence.Palpable tension prevailed at the institute with barely any movement seen on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, a senior professor of the institution has alleged a group of protesters ransacked his residence early Tuesday. Biplab Loha Choudhury, the head of the university’s journalism department, also said that he had filed a police complaint.

The central university has said that the decision to shut down the institute, however, will not affect the admission process, examinations and other emergency work.

According to district officials, tension had been brewing in the area over the past few days as local traders were miffed at the university’s decision to cancel this year’s Poush Mela, a year-end annual fair that draws lakhs of visitors from across the world.

Trouble erupted on Monday after the fencing work began on the fairground, with thousands of protesters vandalising construction equipment and tearing down the main gate.

The TMC government condemned the violence but threw its weight behind the protesters. CM Mamata Banerjee said she was against any construction at the site and asked the district administration to convene a meeting of the stakeholders.