'We shall overcome,' Mamata Banerjee writes to Amartya Sen on illegal land controversy
Kolkata/IBNS: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen conveying her support for him in a controversy over reports that he is on the Visva Bharati University's list of illegal plot holders.
In her letter to Sen, Banerjee wrote: "Some nouveau invaders in Visva Bharati have started raising surprising and baseless allegations about your familial properties...This pains me, and I want to express my solidarity with you in your battles against bigotry of majoritarians in this country, the battles that have made you an enemy of these forces of untruth."
"We are all aware of your family's deep and organic linkages with Santiniketan. Your maternal grandfather, the revered scholar Kshitijmohan Sen, was one of the early leading settlers in Santiniketan, while your father Ashutosh Sen, a noted educationist and public administrator, had his famed house Pratichi built in Santiniketan eight decades back. Yours has been a family weaved in the culture and fabric of Santiniketan, inalienably," the letter said.
Extending her support, Banerjee wrote: "Count me as your sister and friend in your just war against intolerance and totalitarianism. Let us not be daunted by these untrue allegations and unfair attacks. We shall overcome."
The letter was addressed to Amartya Sen's Santiniketan address.
Earlier, in a letter to the West Bengal government, the Visva Bharati University (VBU) has said Amartya Sen's name has featured in the list of "illegal plot holders".
The central university has alleged that Sen is illegally occupying 13 decimals of land, which is over and above the 125 decimals of land leased out to the Nobel laureate's late father.
Reportedly in 2006, Sen had requested the VBU to transfer this excess land to his name.
Though it was approved, the land was not transferred to Sen
In a sharp criticism of the move, Mamata Banerjee had accused the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of targeting Sen as he believes in a different ideology than that of the saffron party.
"Amartya Sen has been targeted because he is ideologically opposed to the BJP. People of Bengal will not accept this insult," Banerjee said on Thursday.