The deserted premises of RD Tata Technical Education Centre in Golmuri on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Closure of Golmuri-based RD Tata Technical Education Centre over alleged political interference in campus activities took a new turn on Monday with former army personnel demanding action against the BJP’s district president Raj Kumar Srivastava.
Members of Poorva Sainik Seva Parishad, an outfit of former army men, met East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal on Monday and demanded that the administration initiate legal action against Srivastava for abusing Lieutenant Colonel (retd) K.V. Nair, principal of the Golmuri cradle, during a gherao on campus on June 11.
“The BJP leader entered the principal’s chamber and made insulting remarks. He also abused Nair, a veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, on caste lines. This is a serious matter and we won’t take things lying down. If the administration does not act, we will agitate outside the district collectorate,” said the outfit’s general secretary Sushil Kumar.
On June 11, BJP supporters, led by the district president, gheraoed Nair for nearly eight hours, demanding that first-year electronics diploma student Rajwinder Kaur, who had 63 per cent attendance, be allowed to take semester exams.
According to the institute’s rules, a student needs to have at least 90 per cent attendance to appear for exams.
Following intervention by Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan, the authorities of the cradle agreed to allow Kaur to appear for the exam, provided she produced medical reports for the period of absence.
Subsequently, other students who had low attendance approached BJP leaders and demonstrated on campus on Friday, demanding permission to take the exams.
On June 13, Nair issued a notice that said the authorities had decided to close the institute owing to unfair interference by “outside forces”. The principal had pointed out that it had become difficult to run the cradle amid threats and added that the institute would open only after normalcy returned.
On the other hand, the centre’s decision to down shutters has put the BJP on backfoot and party leaders are trying to convince authorities of the tech cradle to end the closure.
Former Jamshedpur West MLA Sarayu Roy has met the authorities and assured of support in running the cradle.
Jamshedpur East MLA Raghubar Das has gone a step ahead. In a letter to Nair, Das termed Srivastava’s act “uncultured” and requested the principal to open the institution soon.
The centre’s administrator Varun Kumar, however, said that they would not open gates until they received written assurance from Tata Steel and district administration for proper security arrangement on the campus.
“We stick to our decision of not allowing students, who have less than 90 per cent attendance, to take the exam,” he added.
The decade-old cradle, which is a joint venture between Tata Steel and Nettur Technical Training Foundation (NTTF), offers diploma courses in tool and die-making, electronics, mechatronics and computer engineering.