JNUTA protests the termination of Prof. Sudipta Bhattacharyya, Visva-Bharati

The JNUTA strongly condemns the termination notice served to Prof. Sudipta Bhattacharyya, the President of the Visva-Bharati University Faculty Association (VBUFA) and an alumnus of JNU, by the Visva-Bharati University (VBU). The JNUTA sees this act as unacceptable and unjust, and an attempt to spread fear among the University community at large. The media report states that on the same day the Proctor’s Office of the University served notices to six students of the University and suspended them for a period of one year.

The termination notice issued by the registrar of the University on 22.12.2022 states that the ‘Executive Council of Visva-Bharati, in its meeting dated 14.12.2022 has resolved to discontinue your service/contract with Visva-Bharati, as your conduct is such as to render your further retention in the service/contract of Visva-Bharati undesirable’. The termination of Prof. Bhattacharyya from his services at Visva-Bharati is justified by accusations of ‘inciting and leading students and outsiders’ ‘anti-social acts’ ‘violent attacks at residences of the residences of faculty/officers/staff’ among other things; none of these charges, to the best of our knowledge, have been established by the University. Prof. Bhattacharyya was suspended for a period of 1 year and 9 months, from 7th January 2021 to 29th September 2022 to prevent him from influencing the disciplinary proceedings against him for which the University had set up a one-member committee. The unacceptable termination notice states that Prof Bhattacharya would be paid six months of his salary and certain other benefits on ‘humanitarian grounds’, while allowing him to ‘submit his representation, if any, within 15 days’ of the date of receipt of the communication.

The JNUTA, in its statements issued on 15th March 2021 and 22nd May 2022, stood in support of the faculty members of VBU who have been facing unprecedented harassment, coercion, and intimidation in the regime of the current Vice Chancellor, Prof. Bidyut Chakraborty, for the past years. In his tenure, the cases of harassment of faculty members and non-teaching employees included suspensions, chargesheets, and inordinately delayed enquiries for expressing their dissent on matters of complete violation of procedures and rules by the current Vice-Chancellor and his team. The termination notice served to Prof. Bhattacharyya is seen by JNUTA as a continuation of these past actions under the regime of this Vice Chancellor to silence all forms of dissent.

The JNUTA stands in complete solidarity with Prof. Bhattacharyya both in defending his rights as a faculty member and the President of the VBUFA. It also stands in support of the teachers, non-teaching employees, and students of Visva-Bharati University who have united to protest against this gross act of injustice. The JNUTA demands that the termination order served to Prof. Bhattacharyya be immediately revoked.

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