The Pondicherry University administration on Friday removed its Dean of Students’ Welfare from the position in the wake of recent controversy over the release of a students’ magazine, ‘Widerstand’ (German for ‘resistance’), that exhorted campus opposition to various forms of oppression, including saffronisation of education.
Issuing an order on Friday, Registrar-in charge, M. Ramachandran said, “Dr. P. Moorthy, Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, is relieved from the position of Dean of Students’ Welfare.
Dr. Rajeswari Seshadri, Assistant Dean, Students’ Welfare, will look after the routine duties of the Deanwith immediate effect until further orders.”Circulation stopped
The University had stopped the circulation of the magazine brought out by the Pondicherry University Students’ Council within days of launch following protests by the BJP and the ABVP which slammed the content for being divisive even as the SFI and Ambedkar Students’ Union protested the clampdown on free speech.
The issue even reached Parliament on Thursday, when in response to Zero Hour submission made by CPI’s D. Raja in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu reiterated the government’s stand on zero tolerance towards any ‘anti- national’ activities on university campuses.
The government will neither allow nor tolerate any repeat of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and University of Hyderabad crises, he had stated.
Meanwhile, sources at the University said that the Dean of Students’ Welfare was largely to blame for the situation as he had kept the administration in the dark about the release of such material.
Also being the Chief Editor, he should have verified the contents before the release.
“He failed to discharge his duty properly and as a result, the VC and others were led to release the book in a casual manner.”Talks with students
An official of the University on Friday said, “The administration held talks with students who brought out the magazine and those who opposed the contents to resolve the crisis in an amicable manner. We advised them to pay attention to the contents of the magazine and make sure that it did not affect the sentiments of other students.”