Students of Pondicherry Central University said Monday that they would intensify the protest against Vice-Chancellor Chandra Krishnamurty, who is facing charges of academic fraud, if the HRD Ministry does not remove her from the post.
The students, who have been on strike for over a week, told mediapersons that the ministry’s “inaction” forced them to protest. “We are not ready for any compromise. We will not accept certificates signed by a V-C who has made false academic claims and stolen research works of eminent scholars,” a student leader at the varsity said.
The students said that on Sunday night, the university’s registrar Panneerselvam and other officials had threatened them with severe action if they continue the protests. Last week, police had lathicharged students on the campus.
One student alleged that A Praveen, an assistant professor (physical education), had threatened to rape her if she takes part in the protests.
A senior research scholar, who is at the forefront of the protest, said a university official came to her hostel room on Sunday night. “She promised that I will get two months’ leave to work from home and that my PhD would be awarded in that time. She also promised a job immediately after my course ends. In return, I should leave the campus immediately,” she said.
On Monday, the students received support from BJP and Congress leaders in the Union Territory. Former Puducherry CM V Vaithilingam addressed the students and expressed solidarity with them. A Youth Congress representative, who spoke at the gathering, said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was supporting the strike. SFI supporters also took out a rally.
General Secretary of Pondicherry University Teachers’ Association Dastagiri Reddy said, “In December, we met HRD minister Smriti Irani and briefed her about the grave charges against the V-C and submitted relevant evidence. But even after several months, no action has been taken. We have received information that RSS and Kanchi Mutt are protecting the V-C from action,” he said.
An HRD ministry official said a fresh report in the matter had been submitted to Irani. “She will take the final call,” he said.