Published: 11th December 2021
Cannot tolerate 'political interference' in universities: Kerala Governor
Arif Mohammed Khan was addressing reporters in New Delhi a day after his letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Continuing his attack against the LDF government over its handling of affairs of universities in Kerala, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday, December 11, said that political interference in higher educational institutions has become "unbearable" for him.
The Governor was addressing reporters in New Delhi a day after his letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, expressing displeasure over alleged political interference in universities, and it kicked up a political storm in the southern state.
In a strongly-worded letter, the Governor had informed Vijayan that the former is ready to sign immediately if the latter brings an ordinance to amend the Acts empowering the Chief Minister to become the Chancellor of universities.
Noting that the government of the day should not interfere in the functioning of the varsities, hurting their autonomy, the Governor said that as the Chancellor of the universities, he had tried his best to save the autonomy of higher educational institutions. "I tried my best to make them understand that you should not interfere in the functioning of the universities. I cannot stand and tolerate this political interference," Khan said.
Speaking of his letter, dated December 8, Khan said, "I have written in my letter about the manner in which political interference is happening there (in universities). It has become unbearable for me and I don't want to pursue any course of conflict with the government."
The Governor had sarcastically said in the letter that he has requested the State Government to amend the Act and bring an ordinance empowering the Chief Minister to become the Chancellor of universities so that they (government) can carry out their political agenda.
"They want to use universities for their political purposes. And I don't want to be used for that purpose," Khan rued. Meanwhile, Congress hit out at the CPI(M)-led government over the issue, alleging that the government was converting the universities into "party cells".
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, VD Satheesan, termed the issues raised by the Governor in his letter to the Chief Minister as "very serious" and said it was the latest example of the politicisation of education in the universities in the state.
Satheesan said the Opposition has repeatedly stated, with evidence, corruption and nepotism in appointments in the state's higher education sector. "Backdoor appointments take place in universities. Universities are being turned into party cells. It is better to have the party secretary as the chancellor than the chief minister. The governor has confirmed what the opposition had mentioned earlier," the Congress leader said in a statement.
BJP state president K Surendran also alleged that relatives of ruling politicians are being appointed in key posts in the universities in the state under the LDF rule. He urged the government to quash all illegal appointments made in the higher education institutions in the state. The BJP leader also demanded legal action against those, including vice-chancellors, for appointing relatives of ministers and politicians into universities.