New Delhi: A student who recorded a speech by the vice chancellor of West Bengal’s Visva-Bharati university has been evicted from the hostel, citing unspecified conduct rules.
According to The Telegraph, the student recorded Bidyut Chakraborty’s Republic Day speech in which the VC said the constitution was drafted by ‘minority votes’ and spoke about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests.
“Today, those who are opposing the CAA are reading the Preamble. But this Constitution was drafted by ‘minority’ votes. (Only) 293 people met at the Constituent Assembly and drafted the Constitution. If you read papers of that time, (you will find) many people opposed it. Now that has become the Vedas for us. Preamble has become the Vedas. But if we do not like (the Preamble), we, who are voters and form Parliament, will change it…,” Chakraborty can be heard saying.
After the VC was criticised for the speech, the university’s security department was asked to check the CCTV footage to identify who shot the video. The student was identified as an undergraduate student of the history department. He was “questioned” by officials of the university on Monday night and was subsequently evicted from the hostel, the Telegraph report says.
Speaking to the newspaper, the student said, “As I have been directed to leave the hostel, I have come to my home. Now I have to live in a rented house.… Please don’t call me as I don’t want to be involved in such issues as that can create more problems for me.”
Visva-Bharati’s public relations officer Anirban Sircar said that disciplinary action was taken by the proctor against the student according to the hostel’s code of conduct. He did not elaborate what the code says about recording videos.
The student has been accused of circulating a video which was “disruptive and defamatory and may be termed as circumspect of the Indian IT (information and technology) Act”, according to The Telegraph.
“As per your confession regarding recording and forward transmission of the video shot on your mobile phone of the vice-chancellor’s speech at PPSBH (Purba Pally Senior Boys’ Hostel) on the occasion of Republic Day flag hoisting, which was later used to defame the Vice-Chancellor on social media, I am hereby ordering you to immediately vacate your hostel room,” the proctor’s notice says.
The Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association has condemned the student’s eviction. Sudipta Bhattacharyya, president of the teachers’ association, said the move violates the fundamental right of expression and pointed out that the VC’s speech was made in the public domain. “We condemn such eviction of a student from his hostel,” he said, according to The Telegraph.
The teachers’ questioned why the proctor issued his “one-page handwritten order” without any letterhead and seal but duly approved by the ‘competent authority’. They also said, that the video does not add anything “over and above the VC’s speech”, so “if there is some ‘disruptive and defamatory’ content, the VC himself is responsible”.