The Pondicherry Central University witnessed dramatic events on Thursday after Vice-Chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy refused to follow a directive of the Human Resource Development Ministry to go on leave. As striking students and professors, who have been demanding the V-C’s removal, learnt about Krishnamurthy’s refusal to follow the order, they gheraoed her in her cabin, demanding her immediate resignation.
Around 9 pm, after a three-hour protest, Krishnamurthy agreed to go on indefinite leave. A senior official said the V-C had agreed to withdraw the appointment of the Registrar as V-C incharge. “The V-C has agreed to send the names of two senior professors of the university to the HRD Ministry for approval to take over as the V-C incharge,” said the official. “The ministry has also ordered a fresh probe on plagiarism and other charges against the V-C.”
Earlier, the office of Puducherry Chief Secretary Manoj Parida, which received the directive from the HRD Ministry asking Krishnamurthy to go on leave, conveyed it to the V-C’s office. “The ministry directive had three points — an order to go on leave, hand over charge to the seniormost professor and announce an inquiry into all charges against her, including plagiarism,” said another government official.
Watch video: Puducherry V-C Being Sent On a Forced Leave (app users click here)
But Krishnamurthy refused to follow the ministry order and claimed that she has immunity to hold the post until there is a directive from the President’s office. “There is a serious administrative crisis and the functioning of the university has come to a standstill for three weeks. The file to take action against her had been pending before HRD Minister Smriti Irani,” said an official.
HRD Ministry Secretary V S Oberoi did not respond to queries.