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Business News/ News / India/  Visva Bharati asks Bharat Ratna Amartya Sen to return ‘unauthorised’ Santiniketan land
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Visva Bharati asks Bharat Ratna Amartya Sen to return ‘unauthorised’ Santiniketan land

Visva Bharati has asked Amartya Sen to hand over parts of leased land in West Bengal's Santiniketan.

Kolkata: Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna economist Amartya Sen during an interview, in Kolkata, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI)Premium
Kolkata: Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna economist Amartya Sen during an interview, in Kolkata, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (PTI Photo) (PTI)

Visva Bharati has asked Nobel laureate and Bharat Ratna Amartya Sen to turn over a section of a land tract in West Bengal's Santiniketan that it claims the economist has been using in an "unauthorised" manner.

In January 2021, Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty of Visva Bharati charged Sen's family with possessing land on the campus illegally. Sen has previously stated that the land parcel was leased for a long time, nowhere near its expiry.

Mamata Banerjee earlier claimed that Sen was being harassed by Visva Bharati officials because of his criticism of the BJP's policies and ideology. Sen previously commended the chief minister of West Bengal for standing by him after Visva Bharati accused his family of possessing land on campus "illegally" and stated her powerful voice was a great source of strength.

Also Read: Has Amartya Sen rejected Mamata Banerjee’s award over Partha Chatterjee?

“"I am very happy indeed to get your wonderfully supportive letter. I am not only most touched, but also very reassured that despite the busy life you have to lead, you can find time for reassuring people under attack. Your strong voice, along with your full understanding of what is going on, is for me, a tremendous source of strength," he wrote to Banerjee.

The renowned economist's home was constructed on a plot of land that was an additional 13 decimals in size, according to a letter dated January 24 and signed by the university's deputy registrar. The university said that, if Sen desired, it was willing to conduct a joint survey with its representatives and the surveyor or advocate he had dispatched to investigate the charges.

Also Read: Amartya Sen stresses role of regional parties in 2024 Lok Sabha polls, says 'Mamata Banerjee has the ability...'

"It has been found from records and physical survey/demarcation that you are in unauthorised occupation of 13 decimals of land belonging to Visva Bharati..." the letter said. "You are requested to hand over the said 13 decimals of land to the university at the earliest."

According to the university's spokeswoman Mahua Banerjee, the Nobel laureate's father Asutosh Sen took 125 decimals of land on lease from the institution in 1943. It was not possible for PTI to get in touch with Sen or his family to get a response.

Sen earlier said that Chakraborty was acting at the Centre's direction because of its expanding influence over Bengal. In order to show their support for the celebrated economist, intellectuals from a variety of areas participated in a protest in Kolkata in December 2020.

(With agency inputs)

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Sounak Mukhopadhyay
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Published: 25 Jan 2023, 10:50 AM IST
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