Meghalaya varsity students press for V-C’s ouster

October 31st, 2010 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil Shillong, Oct 31 (IANS) Students of Meghalaya’s North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) will resume their indefinite agitation from Monday to pressurise the central government to remove of A.N. Rai as vice-chancellor and appoint a local academician instead, a student leader said Sunday.

“As a mark of protest against the adamant attitude of the central government to our demand to remove Rai from the post of vice-chancellor, we have decided to resume our indefinite shutdown at NEHU from Monday,” Meghalaya Tribal Students Coordination Committee (MTSCC) chairman Kynpham Kharlyngdoh told IANS.

The students coordination committee, under the banner of NEHU Students Union (NEHUSU) and MTSCC, wants a tribesman vice-chancellor to head the varsity, one of the country’s premier central universities.

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

On Oct 20, students, who were protesting for over a month, set Oct 29 as the deadline for removal of Rai from the post when 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 resentment over Rai’s appointment.

The team studied the student protests. Rai, a former vice-chancellor of Mizoram University, was appointed for the NEHU by President Pratibha Patil after Pramod Tandon completed his tenure Sep 12.

Union HRD additional secretary (higher education) Sunil Kumar, who was also a member of the team that visited the state, said a report was submitted to HRD Minister Kapil Sibal Oct 28.

“All our findings and views expressed by the governor, the state government and stakeholders of the NEHU have been compiled in our report which is in the hands of the minister now,” Kumar said over phone from New Delhi.

He said the minister will take a final decision to resolve the issue.

Rai said: “Stepping down is not an option. I am here as the vice-chancellor on the appointment of the president of India and I am honouring it. If the students are against me, they should approach the authorities concerned.”

“I am ready to sort any grievances relating to the university,” he added.

Earlier, the Meghalaya government asked the HRD ministry team to appoint a local academician as the NEHU vice-chancellor.

“David Syiemlieh (a tribal Khasi and an eminent historian) 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.

Syiemlieh, a member of Indian Council of Historical Research, is currently the controller of examinations in the university.

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