Immolation threat at varsity
Bhagalpur: Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) on Thursday celebrated its 59th foundation day function amid chaos after non-teaching employees agitating for their dues over the past nine years threatened self-immolation.
However, senior district officials intervened to dissuade them. The varsity administration assured the employees that steps would soon be taken to clear their dues.
Established in 1960 as Bhagalpur University, it was renamed Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in 1993 after the legendary martyr, who was a hero of the Paharia revolt at Rajmahal (1766-1780), Asia's first revolt against British colonialism. However, it remained a forgotten chapter in history but the varsity has little idea about him.
The varsity on Thursday celebrated the day in a colourful function but not a single word was uttered about the history of Tilka Manjhi. Sources in the university admitted that during the tenure of former vice-chancellor Ramashray Prasad Yadav (2002-03), the varsity had published a small book on him.
"The varsity spent lakhs of rupees in research and other works but it is very unfortunate that no proper research work has yet been carried out to focus on his life. His character is not yet included in any school or college level syllabus," alleged Raman Sinha, a senior professor of faculty of history in TMBU.
The non-teaching employees from six constituent colleges staging a dharna on the varsity premises announced self-immolation. "Despite the Supreme Court order for our absorption and regularisation of salaries from 2009, the varsity has not yet obeyed the verdict. Many of the employees have already died in penury and now, it will be better if we commit suicide," said an employee of Sabour College, Mahesh Roy.
However, the threat of self-immolation has put the administration on its tows.
Sub-divisional officer (SDO-Sadar) Ashish Narayan and deputy superintendent of police (DSP-city) Rajbansh Singh, along with a sizeable number of forces, are camping at the venue of the function and managed to bring the agitating employees and the varsity to the talks table.
"It's a very technical aspect and the varsity has little to do. But at the meeting with the representatives of the non-teaching employees, we assured them that all formalities on our part will be completed within July 14 and will submit a compliance report to Patna High Court soon," vice-chancellor Nalinikant Jha told reporters.
"This varsity has become synonymous with corruption and mismanagement," alleged Ajit Kumar Sonu, a student leader. Echoing him, Rajni Sinha, a passout from this varsity, said she had been visiting the varsity since 2016 even after passing out because she has not yet received her marksheet and other documents.
"In graduation, I had psychology but the varsity mentioned sociology in my marksheet and I have been running around here since then. But I have not yet managed to rectify the mistake," said Rajni outside the function venue at the varsity.