Minorities panel writes to MP Governor for protection of Ujjain VC

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By Mumtaz Alam, IndiaTomorrow.net,
New Delhi, 18 Sept 2014: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has urged the Governor of Madhya Pradesh for protection of the vice chancellor of a university who was allegedly attacked and his office vandalized by members of some radical saffron groups following his appeal to help Kashmiri students.

In his letter on 16th September, NCM chairperson Naseem Ahmad said the commission is ‘shocked and dismayed’ that ‘some people are feeling empowered enough to attack’ head of an academic institution. A day earlier (on 15th Sept), Professor Jawahar Lal Kaul, Vice-Chancellor of Vikram University in Ujjain district of the state was attacked allegedly by radical saffron groups, for asking students to help the flood-hit people of Jammu and Kashmir. He complained of chest pain and was rushed to hospital, where he was admitted immediately. According to NDTV news channel, the VC had also appealed to local landlords to waive rent for Kashmiri students.

“The National Commission for Minorities is shocked and dismayed that our Universities – institutions that are meant to be the pillars of progressive thinking – are being used as spaces for violence by those who feel empowered enough to attack the Head of an Institution,” Mr. Ahmad said in the letter to Ram Naresh Yadav, Governor of Madhya Pradesh and Chancellor of Vikram University.

Vikram University, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India

The NCM chief lauded the humanitarian appeal of the VC.

“The reason for this attack was the Vice Chancellor’s purported expression of compassion for students from J&K with an appeal to landlords to show leniency towards rent recovery. The state of J&K is in the midst of a massive tragedy and students are barely able to communicate with their families. The VC is to be lauded in anticipating the problems of students at his University and making a humanitarian appeal,” Mr. Ahmad further said.

Expressing serious concern at the incident, the NCM chairperson has urged the governor for protection of the VC of Vikram University, a state government statutory university of Madhya Pradesh, and prosecution of the culprits.

“We wish to convey our serious concern at this incident and hope that the Vice Chancellor will be protected and supported in standing by his appeal. We request you to kindly order an enquiry into the incident and to make sure that those held guilty are punished,” he said.

Soon after the incident on Monday, the Ujjain police had filed a First Information Report against unknown workers of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal – radical outfits of Sangh Parviar, the mentor of Bharatiya Janata Party which is in power both in the state of Madhya Pradesh and at the centre.

According to media reports, 13 activists of VHP and Bajrang Dal were arrested on Wednesday (17th Sept) for attacking the Vikram University V-C.

The incident has revived memories of another incident that happened in same Ujjain district eight years back – a professor was attacked allegedly by members of another saffron outfit and he succumbed to injuries.

Prof HS Sabharwal, who taught at Madhav College, an affiliated college of Vikram University, was brutally attacked on 26th August 2006. Six members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of Sangh Parivar, were booked but were later acquitted after all the 94 witnesses in the case turned hostile. Prof. Sabharwal had opposed election of the students’ union at the college.

Follow the writer on Twitter @MumtazAlam1978

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