November 6, 2015
In a surprise twist to the hunger stir in progress at Avinashilingam University, the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of Sri Krishna Group of Institutions, S. Malarvizhi visited the varsity on Friday evening.
Protesting students said that she spoke briefly to them before entering the office building, where she held talks with Chancellor T.S.K. Meenakshisundaram and Vice-Chancellor in-charge Premavathy Vijayan. There were other people too. After sometime she left the university without talking to the press, which had gathered in large numbers.
Students said that she was protected from the protesting teachers and students and the press by a number of security guards who guided her to her car.
Earlier in the day, seven students and staff fainted as the hunger strike of the university entered the fourth day. The protest was to stress the demand that the management of the university continue with the MHRD as the sponsoring authority.
Despite the institution being closed indefinitely, as many as 100 teachers and 150 students remained inside the campus regardless of pressure from the management.
According to one of the students, the management had reportedly threatened the students with dire consequences. “They told us that our admissions would be cancelled if we do not give in,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Avinashilingam Education Trust managing the institution was reportedly holding a board meeting for its members and important decisions were expected to be taken in the meeting.
However, faculty and students said they had no faith that the meeting would yield any solutions to their problems.
One of the teachers participating in the protest said that the management had told them that the MoA (Memorandum of Association), which was submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was to uphold the benefits of both the students and the faculty.
However, she claimed that the management had stated in the MoA that the university was a private one which did not need funding and would be maintained by the Trust.
“We are not convinced with the MoA since the management had not made it transparent. We want the MHRD to continue as the sponsoring authority of the institution,” said a faculty.
Another faculty added that since the faculty and students were also stakeholders, every decision should be made with their knowledge. “The only fund that the Trust is providing is Rs. 10 lakh every year and for that too, students are paying Rs. 750 each, which amounts to Rs. 15 lakh. If MHRD stops funding, then the students would be missing all the grants that are being provided and the job security and the salary of the faculty would be under threat,” she said.
“This is the only women’s university in this region and we want to safeguard it for the betterment of the women of this region,” she added.
Meanwhile, the District Administration had directed officials to sort out the issue as the protesters had sought the intervention of District Collector Archana Patnaik.
In the light of these events, the visit of Malarvizhi has heightened the curiosity factor as to her involvement in the issue.