Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday wrote to Visva-Bharati University demanding that it withdraws the allegation that his family is in "illegal" possession of land in its campus in Santiniketan. He also claimed that the accusations are a crude attempt at harassment.
Sen wrote the letter to Prof Bidyut Chakraborty, vice-chancellor of Visva-Bharati, two days after the central university authorities asked the government of West Bengal to measure the plot owned by him at Santiniketan in order to settle the conflict permanently as soon as possible.
In the letter, the noted economist said his father had bought free-hold land from the market and not from Visva-Bharati, to add to their homestead and he has been paying taxes for them.
He had also sent a legal notice earlier this year to the VC asking him to withdraw the allegations.
However, the university was not able to provide any justification for the allegation.
"This sudden abuse of an 80-year-old document is clearly a crude attempt at harassment or worse," Sen said.
The controversy erupted on December 24 last year, the day PM Narendra Modi addressed the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati, when media reported that the university has written to the West Bengal government alleging dozens of land parcels owned by it were wrongfully recorded in the names of private parties including Sen.