Visva-Bharati evicts student from hostel for recording V-C’s speech

Visva-Bharati University has evicted a student from its hostel for recording on his mobile phone the speech of Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty during the Republic Day function.

The university maintained that the video was used to defame the Vice-Chancellor and therefore the student was responsible. The student, Bijju Sarkar, who hails from a village in Bankura district, said he had merely forwarded the clip to a friend and it was never his intention to show the Vice-Chancellor in poor light.

Mr. Chakrabarty, in his speech, can be heard saying that even though anti-CAA protesters were reading out the Preamble of the Constitution, the Constitution itself was “brought into effect by minority votes”, with only 293 members of the Constituent Assembly drafting it. This portion of his speech was circulated on WhatsApp.

Handwritten notice

Late on Monday night, the proctor and the warden arrived at the Purba Palli Senior Boys Hostel (PPSBH) and extracted a confession from Mr. Sarkar that he had shot that video and then served him a handwritten eviction notice. The letter addressed to Mr. Sarkar, a second-year history student, was signed by the proctor, Sankar Majumdar.

It said: “As per your confession regarding recording and forward transmission of the video shot on your mobile phone of the Vice-Chancellor’s speech at PPSBH on the occasion of Republic Day flag hoisting which was later used to defame the Vice-Chancellor on social media, I am hereby ordering you to immediately vacate your hostel room.”

When asked by The Hindu whether he had written the notice, Mr. Majumdar declined to reply and asked the reporter to contact the university PRO. The PRO did not answer his phone.

The student, fearing more drastic action, promptly vacated the hostel room and went back to his village. “I come from a very poor family and had bought the mobile phone last month with scholarship money. Many other students too were recording the Vice-Chancellor’s speech, then why was I singled out? I had merely forwarded the clip to a friend. I have no idea why all this happened. I don’t want any more trouble because it’s the question of my future,” Mr. Sarkar, clearly shaken, told The Hindu over phone.

From the eviction notice it is apparent that the student’s fault was merely to record and forward a recording of the speech. But it still went on to say: “Kindly note that your video was disruptive and defamatory and maybe termed as circumspect of the Indian IT Act.”


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