A former student of St Xavier’s College who had started an online campaign seeking action against St Xavier’s University vice-chancellor Father Felix Raj following allegations that a teacher was forced to resign for her Instagram pictures has written to state education minister Bratya Basu seeking his intervention.
The education minister is the “visitor” of all private universities, including St Xavier’s.
“As the ‘visitor’ to all private universities in our state, it would be fitting if you could direct the authorities to conduct an inquiry into the matter and take action accordingly so that the dignity of our institution is restored,” Gaurav Banerjee wrote to Basu on Friday afternoon.
He sent the letter to two email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
A senior official of the higher education department said they were not aware of any such email.
Calls and text messages to Basu failed to elicit any response. Over 24,000 people have signed the online campaign that started last week and Banerjee has attached a list of the signatories, in the form of an Excel sheet, to the letter.
Banerjee has also approached Basu, a college teacher and playwright and director, as someone who was involved in academia and “has frequently challenged societal taboos through” his work “in theatre and films”.
“I’m sure you will empathise with the need to ensure a safe working environment for our teachers and professors and take steps to ensure that moral policing doesn’t rob women of their agency,” the letter says.
In his online petition, Banerjee appeals to Basu’s office to “launch disciplinary action against Felix Raj (VC - St Xavier’s Kolkata) with immediate effect”.
“Basu is now the visitor of all private universities. He could do something about it or at least direct the authorities to conduct an inquiry,” Banerjee told The Telegraph.
“Basu is also a renowned playwright, known for his progressive views. Being progressive is the only way forward. So I thought his stance on such an issue could be progressive”.
When contacted, Father Felix Raj declined to comment.
The former teacher of St Xavier’s University has alleged that the authorities forced her to resign last October for pictures in her Instagram account in which she was wearing a bathing suit in her house.
The university has denied the allegation.