Amartya Sen wants Visva-Bharati to withdraw ‘false allegations’

Chennai: Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen on Monday wrote to Visva-Bharati university demanding that it withdraws the allegation that his family is in ‘illegal’ possession of land in its Santiniketan campus and alleged that the accusations are a crude attempt at harassment.

Sen wrote the letter to Visva-Bharati Vice-Chancellor Professor Bidyut Chakraborty two days after the authorities of the central university asked the West Bengal government to measure the plot owned by him at Santiniketan as soon as possible to permanently resolve the dispute.

The noted economist said in the letter that his father had purchased free-hold land from the market and not from the university- to add to their homestead and he has been paying taxes for them.

He had also sent a legal notice earlier this year to the Vice-Chancellor asking him to withdraw immediately your false allegation made to the news agencies that a plot of land owned by Visva-Bharati is unlawfully occupied by him.

While the university was not able to provide any justification for the allegation, it has requested the West Bengal government “to measure the area of our homestead, Pratichi, to compare with the long term lease of land taken by my father in 1940 from Visva-Bharati,” Sen said in the letter.

“This sudden abuse of an 80-year-old document is clearly a crude attempt at harassment or worse,” he said.

“Among other errors it ignores the big fact, which I have stated many times (even in the context of this dispute), that a substantial amount of free-hold land was purchased by my father (in the market — not from Visva-Bharati) to add to our homestead on which khajna and Panchayat taxes are paid by me yearly,” the letter said.

Hence the officiating registrar’s threat of legal action against him if the official discovers any additional land beyond the leased land seems hugely mischievous, Sen said.


NT Bureau