KERALA

Wrangle over visit of Italian envoy for lecture



Staff Reporter

Tussle at Mahatma Gandhi University now in public realm

VC says the basic issue is that of getting proper sanction from the universityPVC says whatever have been attributed to him in the media as file jottings are not true

KOTTAYAM: The tussle at Mahatma Gandhi University, which so far was confined to the affairs of the institution, appears to have drifted out into the public realm giving scant regard for propriety expected of such institutions and its leadership.

The issue in focus is the wrangle over the visit of the Ambassador of Italy to India to the university on Wednesday to deliver the Diplomat Lecture at the School of International Relations and Politics (SIRP). News was leaked to a section of the media apparently by those close to the office of the Vice-Chancellor on the procedural lapses during the visit.

When contacted over phone on Thursday, Jancy James, Vice-Chancellor, said though there was no official statement issued on the issue, she stood by the contents of the stories.

The basic issue was that of getting proper sanction from the university she said and added that the expenses of the earlier Diplomat Lecture had not been regularised.

But even then, in spite of the delayed finalisation of the programme, the office of the Vice-Chancellor cooperated solely on account of the academic value of the programme.

What appeared in the media was based on the notes of the files, in this regard, she said.

`Baseless'

Meanwhile, Pro-Vice-Chancellor K.K. Unuskutty, speaking to The Hindu, said whatever had been attributed to him in the media as file jottings were not true.

"I have not seen the file or have I noted anything to that effect on any of the files," he said. He said he had called for these files to know whether there was any tampering.

Raju K Thadikkaran, director, SIRP, in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, said as per regulations governing the Diplomat Lecture Series in the school, it was the prerogative of the school to extend official invitations. The Vice-Chancellor should extend an official invitation where ever necessary.

The three letters written in November would stand proof to the procedures followed, he said. The security arrangements were fulfilled as per the directive from the General Administration Department of the State Government.

Teachers' concern

Meanwhile, the Mahatma Gandhi University Teachers Association (MGUTA) has taken serious exception to the controversy which, according to its secretary K.M. Krishnan, was kicked up with the knowledge and connivance of the office of the Vice-Chancellor.

The controversy should be viewed in the light of the fact that Mr. Thadikaran was the president of the association, which was engaged in a struggle over the corruption in appointments at the university.

He said the office of the Vice-Chancellor committed a grave mistake by mixing up issues, which amounted to dishonouring a foreign dignitary who was still in Kerala exploring possibilities of strengthening bilateral relations.

He appealed to the Prime Minister, the Governor (who is also the chancellor of the university) and the Chief Minister to seek an explanation from the Vice-Chancellor and university officials concerned in accordance with diplomatic etiquette and protocol procedures.