Hours after governor C.V. Ananda Bose said in a video statement that five officiating VCs of state-aided universities had told him in confidence that they resigned under threats from education department officials, the department wrote to four of the five asking them “to provide necessary details of any such alleged threats/intimidation faced” by them to the department through email.
Separate letters with the same text have been sent to Indranil Mukherjee and Gautam Majumder, who resigned from Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology in quick succession; Chandan Basu, who resigned from Netaji Subhas Open University; and Amitava Datta, who resigned from Jadavpur University.
Till late Thursday, the department had yet to issue a letter to Sanchari Mukherjee, who had resigned from North Bengal University.
“I would like to draw your attention to the video clip portion between…. wherein the Hon’ble Chancellor has alleged you were made to resign under threat/intimidation/ pressure of the Education Ministry and the senior IAS officers of the Higher Education Department,” says the letter.
“The Hon’ble Chancellor has made a statement that you had confessed before the Hon’ble Chancellor, in confidence, that you resigned because of such fear perpetrated upon you,” says the letter signed by a special commissioner of the department.
The government promised confidentiality to the VCs.
“The state Higher Education Department has taken serious note of your concerns. Therefore, I am directed to request you to provide necessary details of any such alleged threats/intimidation faced by you, along with relevant documents in support of said claims/allegations made by the Hon’ble Chancellor, by 11th September 2023, via email, for taking actions against any such erring officials. Please note that any such information provided by you shall remain confidential.”
The note ends with a reminder that their failure to deny or corroborate the allegations would mean what the chancellor has said is with the intention of maligning the education department’s image.
“In the absence of receipt of appropriate information from your end, it shall be construed that such claims/allegations by the Hon’ble Chancellor are false and with the intent to malign the image of the Higher Education Department, Government of West Bengal.”