MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan ups ante on student death, suspends VC of veterinary university

The Left Front government is in an unenviable position as its student wing SFI is in the dock over the death of 20-year-old J.S. Sidharthan at KVASU in Pookode in Wayanad district

Santosh Kumar New Delhi Published 03.03.24, 05:45 AM
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor pays tribute to Siddharthan in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. 

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor pays tribute to Siddharthan in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.  PTI

Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan has opened a new war front against the Left Front government, which was rejoicing over the President’s approval of its watered-down Lokayukta Bill overruling objections from the Raj Bhavan, by suspending the vice-chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU).

The suspension of Dr M.R. Saseendranath follows the death of a second-year student at the college hostel on February 18. The governor in his capacity as chancellor of universities has also shot off a letter to the high court, seeking a magisterial enquiry into the alleged ragging and subsequent murder of the student.

ADVERTISEMENT

The fact that Khan struck while a bill divesting the governor from the position of the chancellor of universities is yet to get the President’s approval is significant. The Left Front government is in an unenviable position as its student wing SFI is in the dock over the death of 20-year-old J.S. Sidharthan at KVASU in Pookode in Wayanad district.

The governor had visited the boy’s parents who live in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday and promised action against the culprits. “I never knew the governor had such powers,” said Jayaprakash, the boy’s father, when told of the suspension of the VC. Jayaprakash has since accused the CPM of protecting the accused students.

The alleged suicide by Sidharthan after he was allegedly tortured on campus by SFI members for two days has come as a rude shock to the CPM leadership, which has swung into the election mode by declaring its candidates for 15 Lok Sabha seats well ahead of rival Congress.

The SFI’s alleged involvement in a murder case comes in the wake of the high court verdict in the murder of CPM rebel T.P. Chandrashekharan 12 years ago in which the involvement of the CPM leadership was proved beyond doubt. The verdict of life sentence to 12 accused in the murder, two of them senior CPM leaders, had reopened old wounds with the outpouring of public sympathy for K.K. Rama, the widow of slain Chandrashekharan and a sitting MLA. This will adversely affect the CPM’s prospects in north Kerala.

The CPM was jubilant over the President’s approval of its Lokayukta Amendment Bill, especially since it was bitterly opposed by the Opposition. It had also brought relief to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan who is facing crucial cases of nepotism against him in the Lokayukta. In the amended version of the bill, even if the Lokayukta finds him guilty, the decision can be overturned by a vote in the Assembly where the Left Front has a comfortable majority. In the case of his ministers, the chief minister has the power to exonerate them even if the Lokayukta finds them guilty.

Khan has a running battle with the Left government and had in January staged a sit-in in Kollam following a black-flag protest by the SFI.

Khan’s latest action has put the Pinarayi Vijayan government in a tight spot ahead of a crucial general election. The CPM can neither oppose nor condemn the action against the VC as it will be immediately seen as a government stamp on Sidharthan’s murder by the SFI members.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT