Saturday, February 24, 2024

MGAHV: Students expelled, suspended amidst protests against alleged unlawful VC appointment

On January 27th, five students were suspended for protesting against the Vice Chancellor, who, according to them, was appointed against the University Act at the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV), a central university in Maharashtra’s Wardha.

The expelled researchers are Rajesh Kumar Yadav, Niranjan Kumar Oberoi, Rajneesh Ambedkar, and suspended students Ram Chandra and Vivek Mishra.

Their suspension followed the students’ protest during Republic Day celebrations on the campus.

The students were suspended, alleging “they used social media posts to spread misinformation against the VC and protested during the Vice Chancellor’s speech,” in the notices issued to the students.
The university also accused students of “disrupting the program, spreading anarchy, and insulting the Honorable Vice Chancellor.”

The two protesting students, Rajneesh Kumar Ambedkar and Rajesh Kumar Yadav, raised slogans against the VC and held flyers that read, “Illegal VC go back” during the Republic Day celebrations on the campus.

On the university’s demand, two of them were detained by the Wardha Police and released after 6 hours.

The other 3 students, Vivek Mishra, Niranjan Kumar Oberoi, and Ramchandra were not even present on the campus, and one of them was expelled based on the Facebook posts he made.

The expelled students were not given a show cause notice.
Moreover, in another circular issued on January 27th, the varsity has prohibited any kind of demonstration and sloganeering on the University campus, stating that “if any scholar/student is found involved in such acts, it will come under indiscipline, and strict disciplinary action will be taken against him, and this will be clearly mentioned in his character certificate.”

Maktoob spoke with the suspended students:

The students believe that the university has issued dictatorial orders by the Registrar without forming any committee, conducting any investigation, and listening to their side of why they are opposing the VC, which they have been reminding the varsity of through protests.

Ramchandra, a researcher at the Department of Women’s Studies (Prayagraj Centre), has been expelled for his “Facebook post” for “spreading defamatory, misleading, and indecent news on social media regarding the University.”

He told Maktoob, “I was not even present on the campus, but my Facebook post has been targeted and used against me. I wrote about how the appointment of the VC is against the university Act and rules and how it is illegal. The VC was illegally appointed against a Dalit professor who was supposed to be the next VC as per the university guidelines.”

“We were physically and virtually protesting against this illegal appointment. But arbitrary action has been taken against us to silence this rightful protest once and for all,” he said.

The Facebook post of Ramchandra, read by Maktoob, doesn’t seem to “defame the VC or the University” as alleged by the authorities. Moreover, it is laced with facts and references from the University Act 1996.

The post reads, “This appointment is a flagrant violation of the University Act 1996,” followed by how the present VC Bhimrao Maitri is appointed, defying the said Act.

Ramchandra also said, “The present Registrar enjoys the protection of the incompetent Vice Chancellor, due to which an atmosphere of fear prevails in the university. Misleading news related to students and teachers of the university is continuously published and disseminated by the media portal run by Registrar Dharvesh Katheria.”

Another suspended student, Vivek Mishra, a graduation degree theatre student, was asked by the varsity administration to vacate his hostel room a day after his suspension.

He was handed a notice of suspension by university guards at Rajguru hostel while he was going to have his lunch on January 27th and was asked to vacate the hostel with immediate effect within 2 hours.

Mishra has now launched a protest outside the university’s main entrance against seeking a revocation of his suspension. He has his final year 5th-semester examinations commencing from 9th February.

He told Maktoob, “I was discussing the situation with my friends in the hostel room when at 6 PM the guards along with the proctorial team barged inside and threw my belongings outside.”

He accused the proctorial team and guards of pushing him out of the hostel, abusing, and violently attacking him, leading to injuries.

“I was forced into a car arranged by the administration along with my stuff; the guards hurled casteist slogans at me and dropped me outside the university. I had no place to go,” said Mishra.

“I spent the night at Wardha Railway Station,” he added.
He went to the Wardha police station to file a complaint against the administration for the “harassment and threat to life.” The FIR is yet to get registered.

Efforts made by Maktoob to obtain a comment from Registrar Dharvesh Katheria didn’t receive a response. Multiple calls made were not answered.

According to expelled students, the appointment of the current Vice-Chancellor goes against the University Act.

Former VC Ravish Kumar Shukla resigned on 14th August 2023, allegedly due to involvement in a sexual harassment case against him.

According to the rules and regulations of the university and the University Act 1996, the senior-most professor at the campus, L. Karunyakara, a Dalit professor, was supposed to become the Vice Chancellor. Karunyakara held the VC office for only two months and was replaced by Bhimaraya Metri, the former director of IIM Nagpur, after a notice was circulated on the campus.

The students allege, “His appointment is against the legalities of the university.”

Professor Karunyakara has filed a petition at the Nagpur bench of the Mumbai High Court contesting the VC’s appointment.

The case is still ongoing.

The students on campus allege that they were not allowed to observe Martyrs’ Day, also known as Shaheed Diwas, on January 30th to remember Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to India and his sacrifices during the freedom struggle.

Mishra said, “The guards were sent by the administration to disrupt Shaheed Diwas, which is otherwise observed every year on campus.”

“The students were disrupted and dispersed by the guards and administration, and no Shaheed Diwas was observed this year.”

The administration, according to the students, “made up the story that you (students) should have done this during the day.”

However, the students, as usual, informed the university administration about the event three days earlier and a day before in advance.

Mishra, the expelled student, said, “This is very unfortunate that the university named after Gandhi was not allowed to observe a day meant for him.”

The expelled students accuse the university administration of continuously using repressive policies against the students who raise their voice in the interest of the students.

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