The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) has criticised vice-chancellors, who appealed to students on Thursday to think about their future and cooperate in holding examinations on time, for not condemning the killing of students in security crackdown during the protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
The appeal, signed by vice-chancellors and advertised by Janasanyog, the Assam government’s department of information and public relations, came a day after the VCs held a meeting with governor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhavan on higher education.
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya said, “We respect the vice-chancellors. If they think they are the guardians of students and Assam, then why did they not condemn the killings of students, one in Guwahati and one in Dibrugarh? They should ask the Prime Minister and the chief minister to scrap the Act. They have asked the students to exercise restraint but the students of Assam are protesting in a non-violent and disciplined manner.”
AASU said five persons died in security crackdown on protesters on December 12.
Bhattacharjya said studies and the anti-CAA movement will go hand-in-hand and studies will not be affected. He asked the vice-chancellors to lead the protests against the “unconstitutional and divisive” Act. He also said the VC’s appeal was an advertisement by the Assam government as it came from Janasanyog.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi was equally critical of the VCs’ role. He asked why they had not stated in the advertisement that the Act would be allegedly responsible for the destruction of Assamese society.
A portion of the application, addressed to students in Assamese, read, “The current socio-educational environment may influence the future of students. All students must contribute to a healthy educational atmosphere. Students are asked to cooperate in holding examinations in time so that they may not lose an academic year.”
In the appeal, the VCs said they would guide students in their journey as guardians as they are the future resource of the country. They also asked the students and their parents to maintain peace, unity, friendship and brotherhood.
Vice-chancellors of central, state and private universities signed the appeal.
The VCs who signed the appeal include Pratap Jyoti Handique of Gauhati University, pro-vice-chancellor H.K. Das of Assam Down Town University, Ranjit Tamuli of Dibrugarh University, Ashok Bhattacharyya, acting vice-chancellor of Assam Agricultural University, Hitesh Deka of Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University, Munindra Kakati of Assam Rajiv Gandhi University of Cooperative Management, Diganta Kumar Das, registrar of Cotton University, Dipak Kumar Sharma of Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University, Dhiraj Bora of Assam Science and Technology University, J.S. Patil of National Law University and Judicial Academy, D.C. Deka of Madhabdev University, B.K. Das of Bhattadev University, Amalendu Chakraborty of Rabindranath Tagore University, Dambarudhar Nath of Cultural University Majuli, Dipika Deka of Srimanta Sankardeva University of Health Sciences, Malinee Goswami of Assam Women’s University, Laisram Ladu Singh of Bodoland University, Diganta Munshi of Kaziranga University, S.P. Singh of Royal Global University and Vinod Kumar Jain of Tezpur University.