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Uneasy calm in Tagore’s abode of peacae after student violence

Bolpur (West Bengal), March 2 (IANS) An uneasy calm prevailed in the campus of Visva Bharati University at Shantiniketan two days after unprecedented violence between student groups took a toll on the Basanta Utsav, the popular spring festival.

All students have been asked to carry their identity cards while roaming around the premises especially during night hours.

‘We have issued a notice to all students instructing them to carry identity cards all the times, especially between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. (next morning). We have also restricted the movement of any outsiders within the campus in the evening.

‘Police patrolling vans have been asked to intensify their vigilance as well during the night hours,’ Amiatava Chowdhurythe spokesperson of Visva Bharati University, popularly known as Shantiniketan, told IANS.

A probe has been ordered into the student violence, officials said. Security has also been beefed up in and around the campus.

‘The decision to beef up the security measures has been taken up after the recent clash that took place between the students of two different faculties – Vidya Bhavan or humanities and Kala Bhavan or fine arts departments,’ Chowdhury said.

‘It’s unfortunate that a section of students boycotted Basanta Utsav at Shantiniketan – Tagore’s abode of peace – which is considered as the signature event of the university,’ he said.

He said a six-member committee, headed by Asha Mukherjee, had also been formed to investigate into the matter.

‘We have not only asked the enquiry panel to probe into the issue but told them to submit report and specific recommendations before the university authorities by March 20.

‘We don’t want any recurrence of such incidents at Visva Bharati campus,’ Chowdhury said, adding the committee comprises the principal of four departments and a senior professor of the university’s science faculty.

A brawl between two groups of Visva Bharati students marred the festive fervour at Shantiniketan this year which finally led to cancellation of a play Basanta Sunday evening.

The cultural programme organised that morning was also curtailed following the student clash that broke out late Saturday night at the university campus.

According to sources, the clash resulted in injuries to some students and also caused damage to artworks – made under the direction of artist Nandalal Bose – housed at the hostels.

‘It was unprecedented and we condemn the incident. We think it happened due to lack of administrative control on the part of university authorities.

‘If these kinds of incidents take place at Shantiniketan, I don’t know how the university authorities will celebrate Tagore 150th birth anniversary which is scheduled to begin in May this year,’ Visva Bharati teacher’s council president Gagan Sarkar told IANS.

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