Students burn effigy of Meghalaya varsity vice-chancellor

November 4th, 2010 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Shillong, Nov 4 (IANS) The protest against appointment of A.N. Rai as vice-chancellor of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) escalated Thursday with agitating students burning his effigy along with those of the three-member search committee, which recommended his name for the post.

“The effigy of Rai was burned in protest of his assuming the office of vice-chancellor, while the effigy of the search committee was in protest for recommending the name of Rai as Pramod Tandon’s successor,” Meghalaya Tribal Students Coordination Committee (MTSCC) Chairman Kynpham Kharlyngdoh said.

The MTSCC and NEHU Students Union (NEHUSU) resumed their indefinite strike Monday and demanded that a local should head the varsity.

President Pratibha Patil appointed Rai, former vice chancellor of Mizoram University, as the vice chancellor of NEHU on the recommendation of the search committee headed by Abid Hussain, former Indian ambassador to the US.

The other two members are R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to Prime Minister’s Office, and former chief election commissioner James Michael Lyngdoh.

However, the students feel that David Syiemlieh, a tribal Khasi and an eminent historian, should be appointed to the post.

Late Barrister Pakem has been the university’s only local vice-chancellor since its inception in 1973.

“We will continue with our agitations till our demand is met,” Kharlyngdoh said.

Earlier, the Meghalaya government asked the union human resource development ministry team to appoint a local academician as the NEHU vice-chancellor.

“David Syiemlieh is the best person to lead the university. He is an impeccable academician with requisite qualifications and has enough experience in administration of the university,” Deputy Chief Minister B.M. Lanong said.

Two powerful organisations in Meghalaya - the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), also urged President Pratibha Patil to revoke Rai’s appointment.

On Oct 20, a three-member team of the union human resource development (HRD) ministry, led by HRD ministry secretary Vibha Puri Das, visited Shillong to assess the NEHU imbroglio. The team later submitted its report to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.

It is not known whether Sibal has made any comment on the report submitted to him Oct 28.

Meanwhile, normal functioning of NEHU remained disrupted Thursday, the fourth day of the indefinite strike called by students to pressurise the central government to remove Rai as vice-chancellor, even as the registrar of the varsity issued a circular directing employees to attend their duties and students to attend classes.

The vice-chancellor’s office, classrooms and laboratories remained locked as students prevented anyone from entering the campus.

“Preventing others from attending their duties or attending classes and blocking the entrance of the university is unlawful. Such unlawful activities may invite necessary measures from law and order enforcement authorities for which those who create situations will be responsible,” NEHU registrar Lambha Roy said.

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