New Delhi: The Allahabad University has informed the Centre that activists of a political party threatened its Vice-Chancellor while extending support to agitating students, with HRD Minister Smriti Irani stating that the party in question was the ruling Samajwadi Party in UP.
"The University has told (us) that on morning of 9th (May), nearly 30 vehicles associated with a political party of Uttar Pradesh came to declare their support to the students union and threatened the Vice-Chancellor and the University administration. This is what the university has told the Government of India," she told Rajya Sabha.
Initially, the minister did not name the political party, but when SP member Ram Gopal Yadav said that the Vice-Chancellor had accused the Centre of interfering in the affairs of Allahabad University, Irani said the political party in question is "Samajwadi Party".
A brief argument between Irani and SP members followed.
She was responding to Zero Hour mention by Arvind Kumar Singh (SP) who raised the issue of hunger strike by the students union president Richa Singh and other students.
He said the students are on strike demanding that entrance test for admission in the university should be held in off-line mode also.
"Because of the stubborn attitude of the Vice Chancellor there is a big resentment among the students," he maintained.
He suggested that the HRD Ministry should intervene in such matters before the situation become explosive.
To this, Irani said few days back in the House she had commented that "this is a pandora's box".
"Universities are autonomous to administer their issues themselves. However, the university brought to our notice that there is a student agitation and we would like to facilitate offline admissions also because of the pressure which has been brought forth by a particular political party," she said.
She further said, "we have noted" that the university would like to provide apart from online admission, offline admissions also.
The Minister also informed that over 1,20,500 admissions have been done online.
"...Since the university sought our permission, we have noted. But since they administer their issues, we are not interfering into it," she said.
Alleging that "political interference" has brought the administrative machinery of Allahabad University to a "standstill", its Vice Chancellor has threatened to leave with his associates and said MPs or MLAs can be made VCs instead of academicians to toe the government line.
Irani also appealed to political parties that if there is a law and order situation the matter should be brought to the notice of state authorities or the Government of India.
"Otherwise to intervene in the functioning of university, thereby threatening a Vice-Chancellor would not be a very productive engagement with the university," Irani added.