Confirming that Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty is “under siege” due to the ongoing agitation by a section of students, Visva-Bharati University on Monday temporarily suspended the admission process for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, a notice said.
Since a group of students was continuing with their sit-in outside the official residence of the vice-chancellor for the fourth day on Monday in protest against the expulsion of three students, the university suspended the admission process, saying the Admission Cell needs the physical presence of the VC in his office for his valuable suggestions.
The three were expelled by the central university for alleged disorderly conduct during a protest against the VC on the campus on January 9 this year.
Meanwhile, a scuffle broke out between security guards and the agitating students during the day as the protestors tried to put festoons and posters on the gate denouncing the expulsion of the three students and demanding the VC’s resignation, students said.
Coordinator of Admission Cell, Visva-Bharati said in the notice, since the university is “currently under siege”, the admission process in various courses at the university cannot proceed as usual.
“As the Vice-Chancellor is Chairman of the Central Admission Committee as well as of the VB Admission Coordination Cell, his valuable suggestion 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,” Sow said.
A rally participated by students, a section of faculty, some ashramites, and local people went around Santiniketan and the university campus during the day demanding rollback of the order expelling the three students, removal of the VC, and withdrawal of an earlier order suspending over 10 professors on the charge of airing individual opinions over the state-of-affairs at the university under the incumbent VC.
A Visva-Bharati official said the three students - two of whom are from the economics department and one from the music department - were rusticated for three years on August 23.
The official said the students were given a chance to defend their case before the inquiry commissioner appointed by the university, but they were “adamant and unapologetic”.