In a big relief for the agitating students of the Visva Bharati University (VBU) – the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday put an interim stay on the rustication order of its three students and directed the University to allow them to join classes from September 9.
Speaking to News18, advocate Samim Ahammed, who represented the case on behalf of the students, said, “We welcome the court’s directive. During the course of the hearing, the court put an interim stay on the rustication order of the three students. The bench also directed the students to end the demonstration and asked the University officials to allow the three students to continue their classes. The matter will be heard again on September 15.”
He said, “While putting an interim stay on rustication order, the Court observed that the action taken by the VBU against the three students was harsh, excessive and disproportionate.”
On August 27, the agitating students gathered at the residence of Vice-Chancellor, professor Bidyut Chakraborty. The students have demanded that the rustication order of three students be withdrawn otherwise the agitation will continue.
The students who were rusticated were identified as Somnath Shaw, Falguni Pan and Rupa Chakraborty. They were rusticated for “disrupting the academic atmosphere in the university compound by assembling at Chhatimtala on January 9, and being involved in disorderly conduct in the name of protest.”
On August 30, The VBU temporarily suspended the admission process due to the ongoing demonstration over the rustication of three students on ‘disciplinary’ grounds.
The Vice-Chancellor on August 31 sought police protection in the midst of protest over the rustication of three students recently on disciplinary grounds.
Later, the VBU moved to the Calcutta High Court seeking its intervention in ending the standoff of the agitating students.
On September 3, the court passed an interim order banning demonstrations anywhere within 50 metres of the campus at Santiniketan in West Bengal and today it put an interim stay on the rustication order of its three students.
President of Visva-Bharati Faculty Association, Sudipta Bhattacharyya (who is also participating in the demonstration), said, “Today, we are happy with the Court’s order. We are hopeful that the Court will resolve all our grievances against the vice-chancellor.”
When contacted Somnath Shaw (one of the students who was rusticated), he said, “I welcome the Court’s decision. We were optimistic about the judgement because we all knew that it was a conspiracy to weaken our fight against injustice.”
Despite repeated attempts, the Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University was not available for his comments.