By Shalini Panicker:
The Pondicherry University Students’ Movement began on the 27th of July ’15, Monday, against the Vice Chancellor of the university, Mrs. Chandra Krishnamurthy, due to her fraudulent CV and inefficient administration of the Central University. This protest had begun with the aim of immediate removal of the V.C. This protest was non-violently done within the university grounds. However, we were disrupted violently by the pro V.C men.
The various reasons for the protest span from Human Rights violations to fake academic credentials, severe administrative inefficiencies and financial misappropriations. The various reasons have been enlisted:
Human Rights violation
A student named Radhakrishnan, from the School of Tamil, was stripped naked, tortured and brutally assaulted by Professors, named Mr. Hariharan and Mr. Bhushan Sudhakar, yet no actions were taken against them. They continue to hold key positions within the university.
Two girls named Kavya and Vidya were openly molested and yet the two sexually harassed victims were the ones who were suspended. Even the protesters who supported them were suspended. There is a High Court case pending on this matter.
Several sexual harassment cases have gone unnoticed even to this date. While there is no official women’s cell, the authorities do not even take written complaints from female students either.
An assistant Prof. A Praveen threatened female protesters with rape when they stepped out of university grounds. Yet, he walks around scot free on bail. The V.C is trying to deviate the case by saying that students filed a complaint on him as he belongs to the SC/ST.
The University administration has been hiked to a great degree compared to other central universities. This prevents the economically weaker section of the society from joining, which defeats the purpose of having a central university.
The stipend and scholarship for PG and PhD students have been delayed for almost three years. The Ph.D. theses of many students have purposely been not forwarded to any examiners for many months which is preventing students from progressing academically.
The funds allocated for opening a 24 hours reading hall lays unutilized, as even though the building has been inaugurated by the previous V.C, Dr. J.A.K. Thareen it’s yet not functional. The funds allocated to various departments to buy new books, journals and editions haven’t been utilized as no new books have been purchased in the libraries for the past two years.
The health center within the University campus is ill equipped and lacks skilled doctors. Several misdiagnoses have been reported.
There was a proposal by the former V.C to build two high-rise buildings for accommodating 2000 students, which would have solved the accommodation crisis currently plaguing the university. Due to the same reason, many meritorious students had to withdraw their admissions. Now, four students have been dumped into a single room and there are no rooms available for more than 60% of those who joined in the academic year 2015-2016.
Fraudulent CV of the Vice Chancellor
There are innumerable anomalies in Mrs. Chandra Krishnamurthy’s CV, starting from her publications, several of which have not been published, as supposed. Ironically, she received her Ph.D. in 2002 from an unrecognized university in Sri Lanka. And in a span of ten years she became the Vice Chancellor without having worked as HOD for 10 years as prescribed by UGC guidelines. She claims to be a gold medalist. However, RTI claims otherwise regarding her PhD, publications and CV for that matter.
Since day 1, the protest was completely held within the university grounds and was conducted in a non-violent manner. However, there have been hindrances from goons, rowdies and other pro V.C men. On day 5, there was an illegal lathi charge on peaceful protesters which led to several injuries and one critical head injury. Women were manhandled and several were injured. On day 11, the MHRD committee made a visit to the university to assess the situation when the meeting with the students went on for 45 minutes, where in all our grievances was put forth. Surprisingly, the MHRD officials trivialized the fraudulent CV. On the same day, 15 students went on an indefinite hunger strike unto death. When students were critically in need of medical assistance due to deteriorating health, none of it was offered by the university’s health center, as was promised by the registrar. The administration feigned ignorance into the whole matter.
As of today, we have completed 150 hours of hunger strike. The strike will continue until she is ousted.
Update: 9 out of the 15 students who went on hunger strike, have fallen ill and have been taken to Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer). They were replaced by a fresh batch of 15 students.
Editor’s note: Facts stated in the article could not be independently verified.
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