Accusing Governor Arif Mohammed Khan of attempting to run a parallel government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that repeated interventions in the State’s universities should be seen as part of a plan to bring them under the control of the Sangh Parivar and saffronise higher education.
Mr. Vijayan was speaking after inaugurating the Left Democratic Front (LDF)‘s convention to “protect the higher education sector and resist moves against Kerala” here on Tuesday.
The convention kicked off the LDF’s wider campaign to reach out to the public to convey its side of the story in the ongoing tussle with the Governor and the Union government.
CPI(M) State secretary M.V. Govindan said that over the next two weeks the Left parties would organise house visits, campus protests and district conventions on the issue, culminating with a march of one lakh people to Raj Bhavan.
“Kerala has made major strides in the higher education sector in recent years with our universities scoring high grades in national rankings. Now, our priority is to connect the sector to the knowledge explosion happening globally. However, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar are getting uneasy at this prospect, because they want the youth, who will decide India’s future, to remain under their control. The government as well as the State as a whole has taken a strong stand against such attempts. We will not waver from the commitment to uphold secular democratic values and instil scientific temper in our educational institutions,” said Mr. Vijayan.
He said that the even though the post of the Governor was a constitutional one, the Chancellor post has no such protections and has to function according to the University Act. The Chancellor does not have any powers to act against a Vice Chancellor unless a complaint of misuse of power or misappropriation of funds is levelled against the person.
“All of the Vice Chancellors have a proven academic record with multiple patents and experience of teaching in foreign universities. They were not appointed based on their politics. The Governor, who seems to think he is even above the judiciary, has attempted to question the appointments of the VCs which were never questioned by the judiciary, using one appointment which was questioned by it,” he said.
“The Chancellor has used non-existent powers in demanding the resignation of the VCs. When the Chancellor wants the search committee to include in the shortlist persons whom the committee had found ineligible for the VC post, one cannot blame those who suspect the Chancellor of having vested interests. On the other hand, pro-RSS people are being appointed in Central universities. Those who are trying hard to oust the qualified VCs here are silent on these,” said Mr.Vijayan.
CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran said communal forces were always against the growth of a generation with scientific temper and the right outlook of history. The current attempts are part of a larger plan to capture the minds of the new generation in Kerala. It is unfortunate that the Chancellor himself is at the forefront of such attempts. The people of Kerala will unitedly resist all such attempts, he said.
Leaders of various constituent parties of the LDF also spoke.