New Delhi: Locals and Trinamool Congress members have been protesting near the ancestral house of economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in Bengal’s Bolpur, against a decision by the authorities of the Union government-run Visva-Bharati University to evict him.
Monday, May 8, was the third day of protests which launched on Friday, PTI has reported.
May 9, today, is notably Rabindranath Tagore’s birth anniversary. The day sees celebrations at Visva-Bharati, which Tagore set up, and the town of Shantiniketan which surrounds the campus.
The Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika has reported that various departments of the university have had to remain closed as a result. The university, however, has said through its spokesperson that Tagore’s birthday celebrations will continue as scheduled.
Protesters have been camping on two daises and have been singing and performing Tagore’s songs and plays since Friday.
Sen’s family has lived in the house named ‘Pratichi’ – built on a 1.38-acre plot in Bolpur – which the university authorities have now claimed is illegally occupying 0.13 acres. The land on which Sen’s ancestral house stands was leased for 99 years to his father, Ashutosh Sen in 1943 by Rathindra Nath Tagore, Rabindranath’s son, who was the then general secretary of Visva-Bharati.
Sen was to have vacated the premises on May 6 and faces eviction. He has, meanwhile, moved Calcutta high court which has stayed the university notice. A Birbhum court will also hear an appeal for a stay on possible eviction.
Sen is a critic of the Narendra Modi government at the Union and the Trinamool Congress, which rules the state of Bengal, has posited this action by a centre-run university as one that reeks of political vendetta.