West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she was not invited to the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati by its authorities. Addressing a press meet here, she also said that those who are currently at the helm of the central university "play no integral part" in carrying forward Tagore's legacy." No, I can't recall having received any invitation to the function. I, however, posted on Twitter that Visva-Bharati evokes a sense of pride, having completed 100 years of establishment," she said.
The chief minister, when asked to comment on a controversy doing the rounds over Nobel laureate Amartya Sen's age-old property in Santiniketan, said "he was being subjected to vicious attacks" because of his anti-BJP stance.
"I want to know why the heritage Poush Mela was not organised this year with COVID-19 protocols in place. Who is behind this?" she said, adding that those responsible would never be able to "unsettle" the 100-year-old institute's glorious tradition.
According to several media reports, varsity authorities have claimed that Sen had been illegally occupying a plot in Santiniketan, where his house 'Pratichi' stands. "I have immense respect for Amartya da. Do you believe Amartya Sen can occupy land? I offer my apology to Amartya da on behalf of Bengal," Banerjee said.
Iterating that BJP leaders have verbally abused her on many occasions, the TMC boss said, "They think they could insult the luminaries of Bengal, like Sen, just as they had been insulting me. They are wrong. People of the state won't accept this." Banerjee said she would protest against the insult meted out to Sen during her rally in Bolpur on December 29, and urged all intellectuals in the state to also do the same.