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History council boss gets boot

New Delhi, Dec. 10: The human resource development ministry has removed M.G.S. Narayanan from the post of chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

A ministry notification today stated: “The government of India is also pleased to nominate Kumud Bansal, additional secretary, department of secondary and higher education, as ICHR chairperson.” It informed that Bansal would continue in the post till the government appointed a regular chairperson.

Hitting back at the government, Narayanan said: “This is an arbitrary and illegal decision taken by the HRD ministry to promote their communal agenda through the council.”

Once considered an acolyte of HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi, Narayanan has of late been involved in a running feud with the ministry. Matters worsened when the government decided to appoint Kapil Kumar, former faculty member of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, as a member secretary in the council.

Narayanan has accused the government of usurping his powers as he alone had the right to appoint a member secretary. “The ministry appointed Kapil Kumar as member secretary without even consulting the chairperson — though the chairperson is the ‘appointing and controlling authority’ for the post,” he said in a statement issued to the media today.

Alleging that the ministry was hounding him, Narayanan said: “I came to know about various irregularities perpetuated by two of my immediate predecessors — also known as committed RSS activists.”

Earlier, the HRD ministry had similarly clashed with the then chairperson of Indian Council for Social and Scientific Research, M.L. Sondhi, who had challenged the government’s order notifying his removal from the post in court.

“I am not interested in challenging the order as I consider a hostile act by the present corrupt ministry an honour,” said Narayanan.

He blamed the ministry for “not liking” the “good work” the ICHR was doing under his chairpersonship.

“I am sure historians and academics in India will rise to the occasion to defeat the obscurantist policies promoted by the minister and his ministry in the field of history,” said Narayanan. “They are interested in squandering public funds for promoting their communal schemes in historical research.”

Left historians who had blasted Narayanan as a “Joshi-protégé” when he first took charge, are now hailing him for his stance.

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