West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to the state's Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar regarding the situation at the Visva Bharati University (VBU) on Monday. Protests erupted at the campus of the university in Birbhum district of the state over the proposal of constructing a boundary wall around its grounds.
Banerjee said that she did not want any construction on the varsity's Poush Mela (winter fair) ground. "The governor had called me. We had a discussion over the violence that took place on the ground. I told him that Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore founded it with a vision to celebrate different festivals.... l told him that I don't want any construction to take place on that ground," news agency PTI quoted her, as saying.
"Earlier, too, there was a problem over a seminar on the campus... I have asked the SP (Superintendent of Police) to convene a meeting of university authorities and the local administration," she added.
Meanwhile, students of the varsity held protests outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Professor Bidyut Chakrabarty, reported news agency ANI.
The university, in a statement released Monday night, said that it would remain closed indefinitely, until the situation improves. "Given the volatile situation in the campus, and also the threat to many colleagues….it has been unanimously resolved…to close the University till the situation improves," the statement said.
On Monday morning, around 4,000 people gathered near the campus in Birbhum's Shantiniketan and took down one of the university gates, PTI reported quoting sources. Following this, around 50 people organised an hour-long sit in protest near the Prayer Hall of the university to oppose the construction of the said wall.
According to PTI, they alleged that it was being built by the authorities to keep people from entering the campus during the Poush Mela, which is one of the most important events in the state.
Visva Bharati authorities have decided to scrap Poush Mela citing its "bitter experience" in the last couple of years.