Demand to boycott lecture on CAA
A large section of students and teachers at Visva-Bharati have demanded cancellation of a lecture by BJP ideologue and MP Swapan Dasgupta on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at the varsity on January 8, saying the institute founded by Rabindranath Tagore should not associate itself with the controversy.
Several student outfits, including SFI and the Trinamul Chhatra Parishad, threatened to launch protests if the varsity didn’t withdraw the lecture.
The SFI and another Left student outfit wrote to vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, pleading that the programme be scrapped as it would “hurt” the basic motto of the university which believes in neutrality.
The subject of the lecture to be held at Lipika auditorium is: “The CAA2019: Understanding and Interpretation.”
Residents of the ashram expressed surprise over the central university’s move to give approval for the programme in the main auditorium on the campus.
“It came to my notice that the vice-chancellor would preside over the programme. This is surprising as it gives an impression that the varsity approves the amended citizenship law, which is being protested against across the country. Our university cannot do this as our motto is Yatra Visvam Bhavatyekanidam (Where the world makes its home in a single nest),” said a resident of the ashram.
Sudipta Bhattacharyya, a professor of economics at Visva-Bharati, said: “If the university wants to prove its neutrality, it should have arranged a debate on the issue with people of different ideologies and from different political parties. It would have been healthy for an academic institution like Visva-Bharati.”
Anirban Sircar, the officiating public relations officer of Visva-Bharati, said the lecture was a part of the institution’s routine lecture series. “It is a part of the series of lectures the university was organising. Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta would deliver a lecture on CAA,” said Anirban Sircar, the officiating public relations officer of Visva-Bharati.
Sircar said he had no idea of the letters of the two student outfits.