Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reacted sharply to Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo’s resignation, saying that the idea of the varsity would suffer if the people associated with its foundation leave like this. He hailed Yeo and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as the people, who have contributed immensely to the shaping of the university. Kumar requested the Centre to ensure that the institute’s nature and distinct features remain intact.
“There has been an atmosphere of uncertainty because of the current goings-on. If all people associated with the university’s formation leave, the spirit of idea of (the) Nalanda (University) is bound to suffer,” he said at a function on Friday. He indirectly referred to Sen’s removal from the university board.
Sources claimed that the Centre had corresponded with Kumar about the dissolution of the university’s governing body. But sources at the chief minister’s house insisted he had no idea about Sen’s removal from the board and that Yeo had been kept out of the loop.
The dissolution coincided with Gopa Sabarwal’s appointment as the interim vice-chancellor. Sabarwal, who had been given a year’s extension and had completed her tenure on November 24, called Yeo one of the architects of the university while expressing her disappointment over his resignation. She said that the board had taken a call on this when asked about ambiguity and controversies surrounding her appointment and extension. “We had been hearing about proposed amendments to the Nalanda University Act, 2010 for sometime for complete clarity on appointments and other matters. But it did not happen.’’
A Nalanda University source explained that the erstwhile Nalanda Mentor Group was supposed to be the first governing body for a year until a regular board was constituted in accordance with the Act. “Since then, the erstwhile Mentor Group has been continued as the governing body in a certain irregular sense. It has been constituted in accordance with the Act only three days ago by the visitor,’’ said the source, claiming that Yeo would have been upset at “not being kept in the loop” over the proposed move. “Sabarwal’s matter coming close to Prof Sen being kept out from the new board could have provided the trigger.”
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