Wednesday, May 30, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Gagging of dons: CM intervenes
Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
After watching the growing crisis at Punjabi University, Patiala, from the gallery for the past over three months, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today decided to set things right.

Mr Badal directed the Secretary for Higher Education to visit the university at the first available opportunity to resolve the tangle on the campus.

Upset over the developments at the university, Mr Badal said that the authorities should not have stopped certain members of the faculty from expressing their views in public about the functioning of the university and on other issues of public importance. He said no one had the right to take away the right of expression of anybody. “My party supports the freedom of expression to the hilt”, he said.

Taking note of the statements allegedly made by the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, pertaining to the Higher Education Minister, Mr Mohan Lal, and his registration for doctorate, Mr Badal said that the Vice-Chancellor should not have done so.

Mr Badal said that though it was the prerogative of the Chancellor of the university to deal with its affairs, the state would intervene to the extent it could to put the university’s functioning on the right path.

Appearing worried about the worsening situation at the University, Mr Badal said that he had met a deputation of leaders of PUTA this morning and given an assurance that all necessary steps would be taken to resolve various issues on the campus.

A war of words has been going on between the leadership of PUTA and the Vice-Chancellor. Recently, the university authorities put a parallel PUTA in place to counter the leadership of the officially elected PUTA.

Informed sources said that a deputation of university teachers led by Mr Bhupinder Singh Khaira today met the Chief Minister at his residence. It told the Chief Minister that at present the agitation was confined to the university campus. As the Vice-Chancellor had placed curbs on all sorts of activities of the duly elected PUTA, teachers would be forced to come out of the campus to hold protest in bazars and in front of district administration offices. Such activity would directly hit the government.

The sources said that Mr Badal was convinced by the arguments of the deputation. He took no time to call his Principal Secretary, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, and ask him to tell the Education Secretary to go to the university. He also handed over the representation of PUTA to Mr Ramesh Inder Singh.Back

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