Two Bengal teachers issued notice

Two Bengal teachers issued notice

 The West Bengal government has issued a show-cause notice to two teachers for allegedly making anti-government remarks during a panel discussion on a local Bengali channel.

The State Higher Education Department sent the notice to Debashis Sarkar, associate professor of economics at Jhargram Raj College, West Midnapore and Sampa Sen, head of department of Bengali at Hooghly Mohsin college, asking them to explain why they made “anti-government comments” on a TV channel.

The notice was issued after former teacher Subrata Panda wrote to State Education Minister Bratya Basu on May 26 alleging that Sarkar and Sen had been speaking against the government on private television channels, “which is creating  academic disturbance.”

Sarkar, General Secretary of CPM-backed West Bengal Government College Teachers’ Association, said: “I received the show-cause letter on Thursday. The complainant has alleged that by making politically motivated comments I am vitiating the academic atmosphere. The complaint also seeks to know if I earn any money by participating in the discussions. Being a government employee, I will follow instructions.”

When asked whether it was mandatory for a government employee to seek permission before appearing on a television show, Sarkar said: “I would not like to discuss this with the media as I have already received a show-cause notice. Whatever I have to say, I will write it to the government.”

Sampa Sen, terming the move unexpected, 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 comments.”

Bratya Basu, explaining about the step, said the teachers have merely been asked whether they had taken prior permission before airing their views to the media.
“The post of teacher in a government college is a cadre post and there is a distinction between them and academics in universities and government-aided colleges. I do not know the contents of the complaint. We just want to know whether they are following the rules or not,” Basu said.

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