A group of students of Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan in West Bengal’s Birbhum district have filed a police complaint against Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty after a video emerged in which he was allegedly heard telling people at a public meeting to “teach a lesson” to some Left-leaning students, PTI reported on Sunday.
The video – Scroll.in did not independently verify its authenticity – was reportedly shot on January 7 during a campus walk led by Chakrabarty. However, a university spokesperson claimed that the video was doctored to malign the administration’s image.
The comment was reportedly made a day before Left student groups stalled a seminar by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Swapan Dasgupta on Citizenship Amendment Act. Dasgupta accused Leftist students of heckling him and holding him hostage in a room for several hours.
In the video, a person believed to be the vice chancellor is heard telling a man to attend a 3.30 pm lecture “to stop them from creating trouble”. It is not clear who the speaker is referring to. “Arrive with your bike battalion, and if needed, give them some medicine,” the person added.
A couple of students were assaulted on campus a couple of weeks ago. It was blamed on the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. In the video, Achintya Bagdi, one of the three people arrested for the attack, is seen walking in the front row along with the person suspected to be Chakrabarty. The students who filed the complaint claimed Chakrabarty’s complicity in the attack cannot be ruled out.
The leader of the Students’ Federation of India at Visva Bharati, Somnath Sau, demanded legal action against Chakrabarty. He alleged it was Chakrabarty’s voice. Sau accused the vice chancellor of hatching a conspiracy against Left students opposing the new citizenship law.
The students filed a complaint against Chakrabarty at Shantiniketan police station on January 24. Sau said the police accepted the complaint but did not register a case.
Senior Visva Bharati professor and academician Sudipta Bhattacharya said the video’s authenticity needs to be investigated. He, however, added that the arrested student walking with the vice chancellor “should not be overlooked during the probe, which should be impartial and quick”.