Kolkata: Owning moral responsibility for the controversy over images viral on social media showing young men and women with expletives written on their bodies at a spring festival at the Rabindra Bharati University here, its Vice-Chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury on Friday evening submitted his resignation letter, a highly placed varsity source said.
Higher Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters he has “heard” about Chaudhury’s resignation letter but it will not be accepted by the government.
“I am yet to get his resignation letter. But I heard the news. I will talk to him tomorrow. He is an emotional person. Why should he alone take responsibility? He will be asked to continue,” the minister said
While the VC did not take calls, a highly placed varsity source told PTI he sent in the resignation letter in a sealed envelop to the higher education department head office at Bikash Bhavan and Chancellor-Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday evening.
Earlier in the day, RBU authorities filed a police complaint after young men and women, who took part in a spring festival on the varsity campus, posed with “vulgar” words written on their bodies. Their photos went viral on social media and raised a storm, officials said.
‘Basanta Utsav’ is held on the varsity’s BT Road campus every year ahead of Holi.
At this year’s festival, which was held on Thursday, some young men and women posed for photos with swear words written with colours on their bodies. A group of four women in sarees had a line of a famous Rabindranath Tagore song written on their backs to which an expletive was added.
Another image showed three kurta-pyjama clad young men posing in front of four girls with a Bengali expletive meaning “care a damn” painted on their chests.
The photos went viral on social media, triggering an outrage, with many slamming the young men and women for showing “utter disrespect” to Rabindranath Tagore and Bengali culture.
The varsity authorities filed a complaint at the Sinthi police station following the social media storm.
“We have received a written complaint from the university authorities. We are investigating the matter,” a police official said.
Noted Rabindra Sangeet exponent Sraboni Sen demanded strict punishment for the people who “tarnished the name of Rabindra Bharati and played havoc with the pure and pristine spirit of the icon’s songs”.
“This is a very sad day. We never expected this would happen in the land of Tagore, in the university associated with research on the bard,” eminent linguist Nrisingoprasad Bhaduri said.
Ray Chaudhury had termed the incident an attempt to malign the varsity “by some people who cannot be our students”.
“We are trying to ascertain who was behind the act and strict action will be taken against them. We have to decide whether to regulate the entry of outsiders to our campuses during the Basanta Utsav,” he said.
RBU students said none of them from the two campuses — Jorasanko and B T Road — were involved in the incident.
“It has come to our knowledge that the vulgar act was done by five students who had come from a college in Hooghly district to participate in the celebrations. We want strict action against them as they have maligned the RBU’s name,” Tiyasha Dey, a post-graduate student in the visual arts department, said.
State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said those behind the incident crossed “all limits of decency”.
“It is shocking that someone would think about committing such an act in a cultural festival at a place associated with the name of Tagore. This is also against the heritage of Bengal,” he told reporters earlier in the day.
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