professors in two government colleges of West Bengal have been
issued show cause notices by the higher education department and
asked to explain their "anti-state government comments" on
Explanation has been sought from Debasish Sarkar, an associate
professor of economics at Jhargram Raj College in West Midnapore
district, and Shampa Sen, head of the department of Bengali at
Hooghly Mohsin College in Hooghly district.
Both are often invited by Bengali news channels to take part in
The notices were sent on the basis of a complaint made by a former
teacher May 25 that they were making anti-government comments on
Explaining the step, Higher Education Minister Bratya Basu said
the teachers had merely been asked whether they had taken prior
permission before airing their views to the media.
"The post of a teacher in a government college is a cadre post.
There is a distinction between them and academicians in
universities and government-aided colleges," the minister said
"I don't know the contents of the complaint. We just want to know
whether they are following the rules or not," he added.
However, both Sarakar and Sen said they had not just been asked
about taking prior permission but to give proper explanation of
their views expressed on television programmes.
"I received the notice along with a copy of the complaint
Thursday. The complainant has alleged that by making
politically-motivated comments, I'm vitiating the academic
atmosphere," said Debasish Sarkar, who is also the general
secretary of West Bengal Government College Teachers' Association.
"The complaint also seeks to know if I earn any money by
participating in the discussions. In the notice, I have been asked
to explain my position regarding the complaint within 15 days."
Terming the move as unexpected, Shampa Sen said: "In the notice, I
have been asked to explain my position as regards to a complaint
where it has been stated that I have made anti-government
Dubbing the incident as unfortunate, educationist Sunando Sanyal
said: "With each passing day, the growing intolerance of the
government is becoming evident".
Some months ago, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra
was arrested for circulating alleged defamatory cartoons of Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Earlier, another professor, Partha Sarathi Roy, was arrested for
participating in an anti-eviction rally.
Both were later released.