Staff Reporter

Kasaragod: Education Minister M.A. Baby's statement reminding self-financing colleges that they will have to function in the State even after securing a favourable verdict from the Supreme on the admission norms is a challenge to the rule of law in the country, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has said.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, he said the tone of Minister's statement sounded like a veiled threat that implied use of muscle power by the Government.

Mr. Chandy said that the recent violence against self-financing colleges by the Students Federation of India (SFI), inaction of the police, SFI's criticism of a High Court judge who gave an order in the self-financing colleges case, its march to the High Court, all gave credence to the statement and this was not acceptable.

``Whatever be the judgment of the Supreme Court, do not play with the future of students,'' he added. He said that if the Government could implement the new fee structure in its self-financing colleges, it could convince private managements that the arrangement would work. He said that self-financing colleges in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had gained from the situation in Kerala.

On the spate of custodial deaths in the State, Mr. Chandy demanded that these be investigated thoroughly.

On the Smart City project, he said his Government had drawn up the project against heavy odds. It changes are introduced in the agreement, it is for the people to decide what is right or wrong.