In Anekal, Bengaluru rests a university campus. Alliance University, a private university set up by Act No. 34 of the year 2010. The University has been facing a struggle for a while now. The issue began when the Chancellor under the Alliance University Act, Mr Madhukar Angur and his brother Sudhir Angur, who himself played the role of the Chancellor for a certain period, began to tussle between themselves. A fight which is being carried forward in the Indian courts of law.
Chancellor Madhukar Angur was removed from office in April 2016, after newspapers reported two consecutive rape charges against him. One in February and the other one in March. After getting bail, he claimed stakes of the University and said that the Alliance University Act states that the founding chancellor shall remain Chancellor for life. Later, he barged into the campus with the help of the police and took charge from his brother. The University had declared on October 15 that there would be no classes until November 2. This resulted in confusion amongst the students, as well as non-teaching staff members. This was bearable, but the situation only worsened after that.
The original email IDs through which students receive updates regarding operations of the University began receiving conflicting emails and blog posts from both Sudhir Angur and his sister, as well as the Chancellor in control. Both Sudhir Angur and his sister were removed from the governing body of the University by Madhukar Angur. The official mail read of postponement of classes while the posts from the Chancellor in charge read otherwise. This created a Catch-22 situation amongst students as some went back home for the declared holidays and some stayed back in the campus. Classes were resumed from November 2 but with different faculty and classes took place in an unorganised fashion. It seemed suspicious. While many did not come back to the campus, the rest didn’t go to these classes because of the doubt in their heads.
The official emails continued to say that the classes shall be postponed while few attended the lectures. Newspaper reports since then talked of the Chancellor in charge of having scammed the University of more than 96 crores. On November 14, after much patience and discontinuation of the academic process, the students of the University decided to protest peacefully near the gate of the Central Campus of the University. The happenings in Alliance University were reported in newspapers including Deccan Herald, The Economic Times as well as the Hindu. The issue received local media coverage as well. Yet, no actions have been taken to aid the students. The Chancellor who has been staying in the campus guest house since the entire fiasco started, agreed to address the crowd. To nobody’s surprise, he kept avoiding sensitive questions and denied all allegations. When asked about the scam, he expressed doubts on the one-man commission set to investigate the matter and termed it ‘unconstitutional’. Students continued to protest and around midnight, a number of people from outside the campus barged in through the gates of the campus and disrupted the peaceful protest. The barricades around the gates were removed and the gates were unlocked. The police watched as the girls as well as the boys were assaulted. Even after students begged for them to not use force, for there were girls in the crowd, they continued to assault. The police positioned at the gate did not take any action. Later, authority-holding officials of the police assembled at the campus gate and addressed the students but with no fruit. Recordings show how they denied any attention to the students.
The protests continued, and on November 15, the matter started getting national media attention. The students do not wish to push the issue far but only wish that academic activities resume in the University in a proper fashion. Attempts to establish clear contact with the authorities have only resulted into vague replies with which the students aren’t satisfied. They do not care who the Chancellor may be – the demands are only regarding the functioning of the University, not the ongoing family feud.
The Economic Times on November 17 published the news that the government shall make amendments to the Alliance University Act so that the institute starts functioning properly. The students are urging the government to intervene as soon as possible, as they have been facing discontinuity in the educational process for a while now. The demands are; restoration of normalcy, separation of management from the administration, installation of a competent faculty, restoration of the compromised placements, speedy intervention from the government and the security of students.
Although protests have cooled down, students are still agonised as they are losing time and syllabuses remain at rest as days pass by. The placements have also been compromised after all the chaos. It is also a great loss to students’ opportunities in life and the students can no more suffer for personal tussles. They have taken a stand, have come together to aid the restoration process in the common interest of all and they appeal for a call to action – from people all over the country to join the cause of the students of Alliance University.
Update: The hyperlink on the word “tussle” to a story on Deccan Chronicle, cited as source, has been changed to another news article on the Bangalore Mirror. This was done pursuant to a copyright infringement claim we received via email from someone claiming to be from the Deccan Chronicle legal team. We are currently resolving the claims made.