AMU VC defiant after Sibal`s diktat, slams `interference`

The AMU vice-chancellor on Thursday appeared defiant saying "interference by different political parties" is an encroachment on autonomy of the University.

Aligarh: Asked by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal to hold elections to the defunct students union by November 13, the AMU vice-chancellor on Thursday appeared defiant saying
"interference by different political parties" is an encroachment on autonomy of the University.

"The HRD Minister can advice us but it is within our rights to take a decision regarding the date for holding elections to the students union," AMU vice-chancellor PK Abdul
Azis said.

After Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a delegation of students, who are agitating over their demand for early election to the Union, to Sibal, the Union Minister had summoned Azis twice during this week.

Azis yesterday held a meeting of the University`s Executive Council to deliberate upon "Sibal`s proposal to hold student union elections on November 13", officials said.
Since the required quorum of 15 members was not complete, the meeting was adjourned.

The meeting of fourteen members, however, issued a statement saying that "the members felt that the exam schedule ...should not be disturbed....and the election process for the student union should only be started on January 14," endorsing the stand maintained by Azis.

The vice-chancellor too issued a terse statement saying, "We feel interference by different political parties in an encroachment on autonomy of the University and is also a
mark of disrespect to the vice-chancellor".

Asked to clarify whether the statement implied that he was averse to the minister`s "proposal" to hold early elections, the Vice-Chancellor said, "The AMU is an autonomous institution and we have a certain decision making process.

"The HRD minister can advice us but it is within our rights to take a decision regarding the date for holding elections to the students union," he told a news agency.

Azis maintained that "there will be no elections without following the Lyngdoh Committee report.

"If we hold elections without following the prescribed recommendations, it will be prima-facie contempt of the Supreme Court`s order on this issue," he said.

The statement drew angry reaction from protesting students who have announced that there indefinite relay hunger strike would continue in front of the Vice-Chancellor`s lodge.

Meanwhile, the AMU`S Teachers Association has also reacted sharply to the VC`s statement saying, "This is certainly not a case of encroachment on the autonomy of this
central university".

The secretary of the AMUTA Jamshed Siddique said, "We feel that Mr Kapil Sibal is well within his right to monitor the wrong-doings by university authorities.

Since the past two years, different bodies associated with the University including the AMUTA and the AMU Old Boys Association have been urging the HRD Ministry to probe allegations of financial bungling and gross violation of regulations at the campus.

Siddique alleged that elections to the students union were being deliberately postponed "because the presence of an active students union can be deterrent to the wrong-doings in
the campus".

PTI

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