Kerala

Anti-SFI protests gather momentum

Protesters seek judicial probe into ‘University College-centred examination fraud’

The protests against the Students Federation of India (SFI) appeared to gain momentum on Wednesday.

At least two rival outfits took to the streets to put the heat on the government to order a judicial probe into the “University College-centred widespread examination fraud” by SFI leaders.

The high point of the protest was an attempt by a lone Kerala Students Union (KSU) activist, Shilpa, to storm the Secretariat block housing the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Women police officers overpowered her and hustled her away in a van to the nearby Cantonment police station.

Fast under way

Meanwhile, four KSU leaders are on the second day of their indefinite fast in front of the Secretariat.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who visited them, compared the ‘academic fraud’ to the Vyapam scam that rocked Madhya Pradesh in 2013.

He alleged that SFI leaders had for long used stolen university answer sheets to cheat in graduate and postgraduate examinations held at the college. He said they had also foxed their way into government service by using fake sports certificates to gain bonus marks in Public Service Commission (PSC) tests.

Mr. Chennithala demanded an investigation into how some University College SFI leaders had passed the police constable test with high marks recently.

The police had recently indicted two of them for the attempt to murder college mate and SFI activist Akhil. Investigators had told the court that the crime was the flashpoint of a one-year-old factional feud in the college unit of the SFI.

Mr. Chennithala called for the resignation of the PSC chairman and also the Kerala University Vice Chancellor. He said the officials had forsaken their role as watchdogs and sacrificed the interest of the vast majority of students and parents at the altar of the SFI.

‘Break stranglehold’

Earlier, the police fired jets of water to pre-empt a large group of Muslim Student Federation (MSF) protesters from storming the Secretariat. Indian Union Muslim League legislator and Deputy Leader of the Opposition M.K. Muneer inaugurated the march. He urged students to break the SFI’s stranglehold over the University College campus through peaceful political action.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 7:57:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/anti-sfi-protests-gather-momentum/article28528518.ece

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