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Amid students’ protest, Visva-Bharati University ‘suspends’ admissions for now

New Delhi: Visva-Bharati University on Monday suspended undergraduate and postgraduate applications for undergraduate and postgraduate courses while vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty was ‘under siege,’ a notice said.

The university suspended the admission process on Monday because several students continued to sit in outside the vice-chancellor’s official residence in protest against the expulsion of three students. The university cited the Admission Cell’s need for the VC’s physical presence in their office for valuable suggestions.

The three were expelled from central university on January 9, this year, for alleged disorderly conduct during a protest against the VC on campus.

Students said a scuffle broke out between security guards and the agitating students during the day as the protestors put festoons and posters on the gate to denounce the expulsion of the three students and demand the resignation of the vice-chancellor. According to Visva-Bharati’s Co-ordinator of Admissions, since the university is ‘currently under siege’, the admission process cannot move forward as usual.

‘As the Vice-Chancellor is Chairman of the Central Admission Committee as well as of the VB Admission Coordination Cell, his valuable suggestions, advice and approval are routinely required. For this, the Admission cell needs the physical presence of the Vice-Chancellor in his office. Given these unfavourable circumstances as directed by the competent authority, the admission process stands temporarily suspended,’ the notice said. However, Somnath Shaw, one of the expelled students, claimed it is a ‘pressure tactic’. ‘They want to put pressure on us to withdraw the protest. But the entire university fraternity, the public of Bolpur are on our side. We also demand resumption of the admission process. We are holding a peaceful protest outside the VC’s residence, braving rainfall, to denounce his actions,’ Mr. Sow said.

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A rally was organized by students, faculty, some ashramites, and locals on campus during the day demanding that the order expelling the three students, removal of the university’s vice-chancellor, and reinstatement of the previously suspended over ten professors be reversed. On August 23, Visva-Bharati officials said the three students – two from the economics department and one from the music department – were rusticated for three years.

An official at the university said the students were given a chance to defend their case before an inquiry commissioner appointed by the university, but they were ‘adamant and unapologetic’.


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