Revoke suspension of principal: teachers

TIRUCHI JULY 26 While the murder of a student has come in for widespread condemnation, teachers of the Periyar E.V.R. College have taken exception to placing the Principal under suspension.

The college unit of the Federation of All-College Teachers Organisations and College Employees Organisations, has demanded the immediate revocation of the order and threatened to launch a Statewide agitation. A group of teachers staged a demonstration in front of the college today.

There was no justification for holding the principal responsible, which took place "outside the campus,'' the Federation member, R.Shantharam, told presspersons here today. The Principal had taken charge only recently. The government decision, without any prior inquiry, created a sense of insecurity among principals of other colleges. The federation members planned to meet the Education Minister soon, he said.

Mr.Shantharam maintained that the murder was the culmination of a rivalry between two groups of students over college union elections. He denied that there was any ragging inside the college as teachers were maintaining a strict vigil as advised by the principal, N.Karunanidhi, during a Disciplinary Committee meeting held just a day before classes opened for first year students.

The two groups had been opposed to each other ever since the 2001 college union elections, which was contested by the deceased, D.Azhagarsamy. Elections were not held during the previous academic year due to groupism. But, Azhagarsamy and the rival group were preparing to contest the elections this year, he said.

The Revolutionary Student and Youth Front has also criticised the government decision of suspending the principal and closing the college indefinitely. It demanded the immediate reopening of the college. The All-India Democratic Women's Association has condemned the murder of the student and urged students organisations to fight unitedly against the "menace of ragging".

Our Chennai Special Correspondent reports

The State is firm in its resolve to take action against students involved in the ragging incident, the Government said.

According to a Higher Education department release, Tamil Nadu had a law against ragging and eve teasing, which was being enforced rigorously. Violators of the law would face a fine of Rs.10,000 and/ or two-year imprisonment. It was regrettable that such incidents continued to take place. The Government would take action against administrators or college principals who failed to prevent such incidents.

``We have reiterated our instruction to college principals to take firm steps to prevent ragging.''

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