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Suspended professor recalled

Mumbai, Jan. 19: Mumbai University today reinstated an economics professor who was suspended by the vice-chancellor for holding a news conference to expose irregularities and mismanagement at the varsity.

The university will also set up a one-member fact-finding committee to probe Professor Neeraj Hatekar’s conduct and to look into the 16 issues raised by him.

Hatekar’s reinstatement ends two weeks of intense student protests at the university’s Kalina campus.

The university’s action came after the governor K. Sankaranarayanan, who is also the chancellor, summoned vice-chancellor Rajan Velukar and asked him to resolve the impasse.

The University Community for Democracy and Equality (UCDE) hailed the reinstatement and announced that it will hold a victory march from the Kalina campus tomorrow.

Student protests had broken out on January 6 after Hatekar’s suspension for indiscipline. After his suspension continued for over a week, he held classes in the open outside the campus for two days.

Several academicians had sent emails protesting the action against Hatekar. The students were to intensify their protests tomorrow by going on a hunger strike.

Prashant, spokesperson and member of the convening committee of the UCDE, said: “The revocation of Prof. Hatekar’s suspension is a huge victory for campus democracy. We have been witnessing a shrinking of democratic space within the campus.

“Even if you want to hold a discussion, film screening or music concert in the university, you’ll have to run from one door of the administration to another. This is a mockery of university culture…. The suspension of Prof. Neeraj Hatekar was the height of the undemocratic and dictatorial attitude of the MU authorities.”