Dissenting voices upped their ante as students protested here on Wednesday against the setting up of 17 private universities in the State.

G. Hanumesh, district president of All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO), said the government had “committed a series of crimes” by passing the Bills. “The government even ignored severe opposition from various people’s representatives opposing them. Now public-funded universities will die a natural death.”

Mr. Hanumesh alleged the government was strengthening its communal agenda by allowing the Amrutha Sinchana Spiritual University to be set up in the State.

“Modern education was founded upon the sound basis of reason, logic and democratic and secular principles,” he said.

AIDSO district secretary B.B. Ravinandan said there was an “urgent need for a proactive student movement in order to save education from the clutches ofvested interests.”

AIDSO representatives plan to urge Governor H.R. Bhardwaj not to sign the Private Universities Bills pending his assent and to strike down the eight Private Universities Acts that have already been given assent.