The 23-day long strike by students of a private law college in Thiruvananthapuram took a new turn on Thursday with senior Congress leader K Muraleedharan beginning an indefinite fast in front of it, saying only the resignation of its principal was acceptable as a solution to end the stir. “Nothing short of the resignation of Kerala Law Academy Principal Lekshmi Nair is acceptable as a solution to end the stir,” he said.
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The former KPCC President also criticised the talks held by the management with representatives of Students Federation of India, a pro-CPI(M) outfit and working out an agreement to resolve the issue. In a face saving formula worked out on January 31 with a section of striking students belonging to SFI, the academy had said it had removed Nair, against whom an FIR had been registered for a non-bailable offence and various allegations had been raised.
The government had the same day ordered a probe into utilisation of land assigned to the institution after CPI(M) veteran V S Achuthandanan had supported the stir and demanded that land alloted to the college be taken back, saying it was being utilised for purposes other than education. The college is in the eye of a storm over alleged irregularities in providing internal marks and harassment of students by Lekshmi Nair, daughter of college Chairman N Narayanan Nair, a close relative of a former CPI(M) MLA.
Though the students belonging to ABVP, KSU and AISF had launched the strike demanding among others removal of Nair, various other issues, including land utilisation, had been raised later. Meanwhile, party national executive member V Muraleedharan who had been on an indefinite fast over the issue for the past few days was shifted to hospital last night after his condition worsened. BJP state secretary V V Rajesh replaced him.