Monday, 30th October 2017

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Interim VC quells varsity stir

Law classes to resume today amid promise of infrastructure upgrade by July

  • Published 14.04.17

The NUSRL main gate opens on Thursday after three days of protests and (above) officiating vice chancellor Gautam Kumar Choudhary speaks to students in the presence of SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi inside the campus in Kanke, Ranchi. (Prashant Mitra)

A three-hour meeting with the promise of a three-month grievance redress window ended the three-day agitation at National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) with students reopening locked gates to the Kanke campus, near capital Ranchi, on Thursday.

The engineer of the truce was director of Judicial Academy Gautam Kumar Choudhary, who assumed additional charge of the law varsity in the afternoon. Classes of integrated BA-LLB and PhD research, which had remained suspended since Monday, are likely to resume from Friday.

The marathon meeting from 11am was attended by officiating vice chancellor Choudhary (in the absence of incumbent B.C. Nirmal who has proceeded on a month's leave), deputy commissioner Manoj Kumar, SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi, rural SP Raj Kumar Lakra and Kanke MLA Jeetu Charan Ram, among others.

Earlier in the day, the district police administration had sent a 140-strong force, including 40 women constables, to quell the student agitation and forcibly reopen the NUSRL gate. However, the temporary change of guard (Choudhary in the chair) brought protesters to the talks table more easily.

Speaking to this correspondent later, the officiating vice chancellor said his meeting with students had been successful and classes would be held from Friday.

"Students have understood that change cannot be brought overnight. We have sought three months to hear out grievances and redress them. Students have agreed to observe positive changes and co-operate with the NUSRL management," Choudhary said.

The five primary demands of students are complete administrative overhaul, including resignation/removal of vice chancellor B.C. Nirmal and registrar P.P. Mitra; audit of financial records of NUSRL by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) or any unbiased external authority; putting annual audit report of varsity accounts in public domain; releases of funds as promised by the state government in 2010; and appointment of a University Review Commission by the chancellor who is the chief justice of Jharkhand High Court.

The protesters wanted the signature of chief justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty on the minutes of the meeting, but Choudhary dissuaded them. "This demand will tarnish your image. I am not even going to talk about it with the chancellor," he told students.

SSP Dwivedi backed Choudhary. "Representatives of the district authority has signed on the minutes. You cannot dictate terms," the officer said.

Student leaders agreed to step back, but warned of resurrecting their agitation if their demands were not met within the stipulated time of three months.

A third-year student echoed the acting vice chancellor to say the talks were fruitful. "The varsity authorities and the district administration have reassured us of infrastructure development. A financial audit has also been promised within 15 days. Funds will come too, they have said."

MLA Jeetu Charan said last year, he had managed to get funds for a stadium at NUSRL. "This year, I promise to arrange money for construction of a proper road on the campus."

Asked about elevators, the MLA added: "I will personally discuss the matter with officials of state building construction and central public works department."