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VBU boundary wall row: CM against any construction

Trouble erupts in varsity as mob ransacks properties

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Amid the mayhem at Visva- Bharati University over the erection of a boundary wall at its Poush Mela ground, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she doesn’t want any construction to take place there, and asked the police to convene a meeting with the stakeholders in this regard.

Underscoring that Visva- Bharati is a central university, Banerjee also said that she had a word with the governor regarding Monday’s violence on the Poush Mela ground and told him that the state government’s role in the matter was “limited”.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has also expressed his dismay over the violence at the varsity.

“Situation of law and order in Visva Bharati is alarming. Am trying to be in touch with CM to secure peace in temple of learning. As per VC violators of law have entered campus and destroyed property. CS, HS, DM and SP @MamataOfficial have not responded to call of Visva Bharati,” Dhankhar tweeted.

Trouble erupted at Visva- Bharati in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on Monday as a large number of people ransacked the university’s properties to protest the construction of a boundary wall at the Pous Mela ground.

Sources said that university authorities had decided to build a fence around the ground, where the ‘Pous Mela’ (winter fair) is held every year.

This year, however, the fair stands cancelled.

“The governor had called me. We had a discussion over the violence that took place on the ground. I told him that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore founded it with a vision to celebrate different festivals… I also told him that I don’t want any construction to take place on that ground,” she said.

The state BJP president and MP Dilip Ghosh today condemned the alleged unlawful gathering and demanded that the state government act against it and punish the culprits. He also demanded a Central government agency probe into the incident.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should be aware that any construction within the area of Visva Bharati is within the purview of the university authority and not that of any outside agency as it is a central university, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya said today.

Poush Mela is a handicraft, handloom, art and music festival held in the Bengali month of Poush, usually Decemberend.

Rabindranath Tagore’s father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore first organised the fair in 1894 and Visva-Bharati, the university founded by the Nobel laureate, started organising it from 1951.

Visva-Bharati authorities have decided to scrap Poush Mela citing its “bitter experience” of the last two years in organising the winter carnival in Santiniketan amid a tussle with traders on making them comply with National Green Tribunal (NGT) guidelines.