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Opinion

Amartya Sen lashes out at Visva-Bharati VC ’empowered’ by the Center

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At the center of a furious dispute over the “illegal” possession of land by his family in Visva-Bharati, a livid Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, has accused his vice chancellor of acting at the behest of the Center “with its increasing control over Bengal”. .

Sen was born in 1933 in Santiniketan, where Visva-Bharati, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore, another Nobel laureate and literary giant from Bengal, is located. Sen, in a press release late Friday, said that all of the land occupied by him on the sacred campus was registered under a long-term lease that was not close to expiring.

“I could comment on the great gap between the Santiniketan culture and that of the CV, empowered as it is by the central Delhi government with its increasing control over Bengal,” Sen wrote.

A major controversy had erupted on Thursday, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Visva-Bharati centennial celebrations when media reported that the university had written to the West Bengal government alleging that dozens of parcels of land from his property was wrongly registered in the name of private parties, including Sen.

These people had established restaurants, schools and other businesses on their land, the varsity team said, according to the report.

Referring to the reports, Sen said that the Visva-Bharati authorities had never complained to him or his family about any irregularities in land tenure.

The Nobel laureate claimed that the Visva-Bharati land his house is on is on a long-term lease, nowhere near its expiration date.

“My father bought additional land as free property and registered it in the land registers with mouja Surul,” he said.

A freehold land is a parcel of land over which the owner has full control in perpetuity.

“I would prefer to use Indian laws as they exist. To have mental strength, I can grab the beautiful old photo of our house in Abanindranath Tagore, among others, ”he said.

Abanindranath was the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore and a famous painter from the Bengal School of Art.

Amartya Sen’s maternal grandfather, Kshitimohan Sen, was a student at Santiniketan which became a university over time, and was honored with ‘Deshikottam’, a coveted award, in 1952. Kshitimohan Sen was the first recipient.

In media reports on VC’s claim to the faculty that Sen had called him in to discredit the eviction of street vendors selling their wares in front of his ‘Pratichi’ house, Sen said: “The need to invent completely imaginary conversations with me, starting in an impossible way with me introducing myself as ‘Bharat Ratna’, something that no one has ever heard me do.

Taking a hit at Chakrabarty, Sen called him “an inventive artist.”

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had reacted angrily to media reports on Thursday, saying: “Due to her anti-BJP ideological stance, Amartyada has been the target of such a cruel attack by the current university authorities. .

“I respect Amartya da. Do you think Amartya Sen has occupied land? I apologize to Amartya da on behalf of Bengal, ”Banerjee said.

She also wrote a letter to Sen, asking him to consider her a “sister and friend” in his war against “intolerance and totalitarianism.”

BJP head of state Dilip Ghosh had warned Sen on Friday against being “used” by people with political interests. “We may not agree with him ideologically, but we have respect for him. We urge you not (to be allowed) to be used by anti-development political forces in West Bengal, ”Ghosh said.

The US-based economist, an icon of Bengali achievements on the world stage, has often been critical of the economic policies of the Narendra Modi government.

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