BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta confined for hours at Visva Bharati Univ because of student protests


File photo: BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta

File photo: BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta

BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta, Vice Chancellor of Visva Bharati University, Bidyut Chakraborty and others were confined for six hours in a building on Wednesday as hundreds of students staged protests.

After six hours of being gheraoed, the two finally left the central university campus at Bolpur in Birbhum district after the students withdrew the sit-in around 10 pm on Wednesday, university sources said.

Dasgupta was invited to speak on “The CAA-2019: Understanding and Interpretation” as a part of the Visva Bharati Lecture Series at the Lipika Auditorium of Santiniketan.

The protests began as soon as Dasgupta reached the campus. Students raised slogans and objected to the event after they saw local BJP leaders accompanying him to the campus. The MP could not enter the auditorium and was taken to a guest house and kept there with others. The protesting students began a gherao and a sit-in, confining Dasgupta and others to the room for over six hours.

In the evening, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya expressed concern over the situation and asked the state government to arrange for the safety of Dasgupta, who was invited by the varsity to deliver a lecture on the contentious citizenship law.

The Governor, in a tweet, said: “Talked to DG Police Virendra Kumar about serious situation of confinement of Rajya Sabha MP Dr Swapan Dasgupta along with VC Viswa Bharati and many others for several hours, and urged him to take swiftly necessary steps. Such anarchy and failure of law and order is worrisome. The incident is reflective of worsening situation of law and order in the State. It is of serious concern that Governance is taking a back seat. Time to take a serious look at this.”

In a tweet, Swapan Dasgupta said: “There are nearly 70 people locked inside a room in Vishwa Bharati, Santiniketan, for the crime of attending an official, university-convened lecture by me on CAA. This includes the VC. There is a howling mob outside itching for confrontation.”

Around 10.30 pm, the students ended their protest. Somnath Sau, the university’s SFI unit leader, told reporters: “We are ending our protest as we have registered our reservations to a lecture being held on CAA. We have made our voices heard through today’s protest.”

Visva Bharati, founded by Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, is now a central university.

(With inputs from PTI)