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Visva-Bharati University Bans All Staff from Speaking to Press, Teachers Protest Move

File Photo of Visva Bharati University, in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. (Image: Visva Bharati official website.)

File Photo of Visva Bharati University, in Shantiniketan, West Bengal. (Image: Visva Bharati official website.)

The order came days after two videos, which surfaced on social media, made public university Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty's remarks related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a "cryptic threat" to troublemakers on campus.

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Sujit Nath

Kolkata: The Visva-Bharati University on Thursday banned all teaching and non-teaching staff from expressing any public statement before the press. The order came days after two videos, which surfaced on social media, made public university Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty's remarks related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a "cryptic threat" to troublemakers on campus.

In an official notification, the university assigned the duty of making any media statement to Assistant Registrar Anirban Sircar, who is also in charge of the public relations department.

"All staff members of the university, both teaching and non-teaching, should air any public statement they may wish to the media through Anirban Sircar, Assistant Registrar and in-charge, public relations, in writing," said the notification. "Sircar shall continue as 'social media champion as well as the spokesperson' of the university until further order.”

Condemning the move, the Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) said it will seek legal opinion, said VBUFA President Sudipta Bhattacharyya.

“This order is against our freedom of speech. We are not going to accept this," he said. “It is an attempt to gag our voice against the concerns related to the university. I am sure the varsity will roll back its decision.”

Students, on the condition of anonymity, threatened they would soon take to protests.

While highlighting that the Indian Constitution was formed by a handful of 293 people, Vice Chancellor Chakrabarty on January 26 said those opposing the citizenship issue are considering the Preamble as ‘Veda’.

A section of students recently filed a police complaint against Chakrabarty after a video circulated on campus showing him asking people to teach certain Left-leaning students a lesson.


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