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Kerala Governor suspends VC of Kerala Veterinary University over student death


Mangalore Today News Network/News18

Wayanad, Mar 02, 2024: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, as Chancellor of Universities in the state, on Saturday suspended the Vice Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad in connection with the recent death of a student studying there.

 

Kerala


Khan, in the order of suspension, said that a report given by the VC — Prof (Dr) M R Saseendranath — about the incident was “a testimony to the gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Vice Chancellor” during the developments that led to the death of 20-year-old Sidharthan J S on February 18.

“The indifferent, negligent and callous attitude of the VC towards his duties and responsibilities, especially in the background of this unfortunate incident is revealed from his report dated February 28,” the Governor said and ordered a judicial probe into the student’s death.

The Governor suggested a probe by a sitting or retired judge of the High Court or Supreme Court and said, “The Registrar General, High Court of Kerala will be requested in due course.” In the suspension order, Khan said that the development which led to the death of the student indicated that the affairs in the university were not being attended to by the VC “with desired sincerity, gravity and promptness as mandated in the Act/Statutes” and other relevant rules and regulations in force.

“The lack of regard to harmonious atmosphere in the campus and indifference towards the affairs of the university under the leadership of the incumbent VC has gone to a level beyond comprehension in terms of Rule of Law, which is an ominous sign and does not augur well for the conduct of affairs in the university and for the higher education sector in the state for the times to come,” the order said.

The Governor further said that the present state of affairs in the university necessitates an urgent exemplary action and a detailed enquiry into the matter according to the provisions of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Act 2010.

“In order to have a fair enquiry in this matter, I, the Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, being the appointing authority, hereby order that Prof (Dr) M R Saseendranath, Vice Chancellor, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University shall be placed under suspension with immediate effect, pending enquiry,” Khan said.

During the suspension period, he will be entitled to subsistence allowance and other allowances admissible as per rules, the order said.

Saseendranath was appointed as VC of the university on July 23, 2019.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan claimed that after Sidharthan’s death, the SFI was spreading false stories about him and also lodged a fake complaint against the student.

Satheesan also accused the ruling CPI(M) of protecting the accused in the case.

He said that the Congress would be organising a protest in all block level headquarters today.

Besides that, an indefinite hunger strike will begin in Thiruvananthapuram under the leadership of KSU, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress presidents from Monday, the opposition leader said in a statement.

Sidharthan, who was a second year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student, was found hanging in the bathroom of his hostel on February 18.

His parents have claimed that some of his college mates told them that he was beaten to death by some local SFI leaders and activists.

The father contended that according to the postmortem report, his son’s body had three days’ worth of injuries and an empty stomach, which indicated that he was brutally beaten up and not given any food.

Following the parents’ claims, the political waters in the state were stirred up as the Congress and the BJP accused the ruling CPI(M)’s student wing SFI of beating Sidharthan to death.

The Students Federation of India (SFI) has denied the allegations The police, which had initially registered a case of unnatural death, had later booked 12 students for various offences, including abetment of suicide, wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, under the IPC and the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act.

Later, the number of accused increased to 18.

Till yesterday, 11 of the accused in the case have been arrested.


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