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regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Mamata Banerjee: Unite Pratichi protest with birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore

I will not spare anyone if they even try to touch the house of Amartya Sen, Trinamul leader quotes CM

Snehamoy Chakraborty Santiniketan Published 06.05.23, 05:10 AM
People from different spheres of society in Santiniketan on Friday joined a protest organised by the Samajik Marjada Raksha Committee or Society for Social Justice, a platform of civil society members, against  Visva-Bharati’s alleged move to humiliate and harass Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the name of evicting him from a stretch of land of Pratichi, his ancestral home.            Protesters included Bolpur tribal homemaker Budhin Hansda, professor of economics at the Institute of Development Studies in Calcutta Achin Chakraborty, gastroenterologist Abhijit Chowdhury, trader Panchanan Das and Visva-Bharati alumna Manisha Banerjee.            The protesters marched to Pratichi where they formed a human chain and sang songs of Rabindranath Tagore to show their love for and solidarity with Sen. They marched a kilometre to reach Visva-Bharati’s first gate where they staged Tagore’s drama Raktakarabi under the direction of thespian Goutam Halder. The protesters demanded that Visva-Bharati VC Bidyut Chakrabarty reveal the actual reason behind its attacks on Sen.

People from different spheres of society in Santiniketan on Friday joined a protest organised by the Samajik Marjada Raksha Committee or Society for Social Justice, a platform of civil society members, against  Visva-Bharati’s alleged move to humiliate and harass Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the name of evicting him from a stretch of land of Pratichi, his ancestral home. Protesters included Bolpur tribal homemaker Budhin Hansda, professor of economics at the Institute of Development Studies in Calcutta Achin Chakraborty, gastroenterologist Abhijit Chowdhury, trader Panchanan Das and Visva-Bharati alumna Manisha Banerjee. The protesters marched to Pratichi where they formed a human chain and sang songs of Rabindranath Tagore to show their love for and solidarity with Sen. They marched a kilometre to reach Visva-Bharati’s first gate where they staged Tagore’s drama Raktakarabi under the direction of thespian Goutam Halder. The protesters demanded that Visva-Bharati VC Bidyut Chakrabarty reveal the actual reason behind its attacks on Sen. Report by Snehamoy Chakraborty, picture by Amarnath Dutta  

Mamata Banerjee on Friday instructed her party leaders in Birbhum to continue the protest against Visva-Bharati’s attempts of evicting Amartya Sen from a stretch of Pratichi, his ancestral home, till May 9, the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore this year according to the Bengali almanac.

The 25th day of summer month Baisakh is the birth anniversary of Tagore, the first Asian Nobel laureate.

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“You start the protest tomorrow (Saturday) as per schedule but continue till May 9. Don’t forget, the day is Pochishe Baisakh, the birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore,” a Trinamul leader quoted Mamata as saying at Bolpur railway station, where she interacted with Birbhum leaders for a few minutes during her return from Malda.

A protest by the Visva-Bharati Bachao Committee (Save Visva-Bharati), which has some prominent faces of Bengal’s civil society known for their close association with the Trinamul, was scheduled for two days starting Saturday.

Mamata’s instruction to continue the protest till May 9 assumes significance as Union home minister Amit Shah will attend a cultural event in celebration of Pochishe Baisakh the same day in Science City Auditorium in Calcutta.

Shah is likely to address the audience at the event Amader Rabindrath (our Rabindranath) organised by Khola Hawa, headed by BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta.

“She (Mamata) has strategically asked to continue the protest to show how the central university where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Chancellor, is behaving with Sen. He is also a Nobel laureate and a revered face from Bengal.... Look at the irony that Shah is trying to win over the people of the state by celebrating the birth anniversary of Tagore. Tagore had named Amartya Sen,” said Trinamul spokesperson Kunal Ghosh.

Visva-Bharati, headed by its current vice chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, has issued an eviction notice to Sen asking him to vacate a stretch of 13 decimals of land at Pratichi. The varsity has also threatened to use force to occupy the land, which it claimed was under “unauthorized occupation” of Sen.

Sen, however, has received an interim stay order from Calcutta High Court on the eviction notice till his plea is disposed of at the court of the Birbhum district judge.

A Trinamul leader, who met Mamata at Bolpur station, said she made it clear that she would not spare anyone who would dare to touch Pratichi land.

“You all know about me. I will not spare anyone if they even try to touch the house of Amartya Sen,” the leader quoted Mamata.

Tagore’s birth anniversary this year is significant for Trinamul. The party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is scheduled to reach Birbhum as part of his ongoing outreach on May 9. However, it is yet to be confirmed whether Abhishek would visit Santiniketan on May 9.

After Mamata’s instruction, Trinamul leaders sat down to discuss how to carry on with the protest for another four days. A stage has already been put up near Pratichi in Santiniketan, where the protest events will start on Saturday morning. Some prominent faces of Bengal’s culture clan and varsity students will take part in the events.

Ahead of Saturday’s show of solidarity with Sen, members of the Visva-Bharati Banchao Committee on Friday lodged a complaint with Santiniketan police accusing the VC Bidyut Chakrabarty of planning to bring in goons to breach peace on campus.

This was in reaction to Visva-Bharati’s acting registrar Manabendranath Saha’s letter to the police requesting them to prevent protests by civil society groups near Pratichi, claiming it might lead to breach of peace on campus.

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