The administration of Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU), Raipur, on Sunday announced that the varsity would be closed sine die if the students go ahead with their campus-wide hunger strike on Monday.
“The university appeals to all the students to call off the protest immediately and resume their classes from Monday. If the students do not call off the protest by the said date, the university shall be compelled to take appropriate course of action, including closure of the university sine die, to restore normalcy,” HNLU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sukhpal Singh said in his appeal to the students.
Prof. Singh said no positive response has come from the students despite an appeal by the university to call off the protest. He said he had assumed office on September 25 in compliance with the order of the university Chancellor. “Soon after joining you started asking for my resignation,” Prof. Singh said.
“None of your activities are in accordance with the law…Your protest is an act to defeat the purpose of the stay order of the Supreme Court, and may also amount to contempt of court…The majority of students are in favour of restoring normalcy in the university. The unfortunate part of the protest is that it does not seem peaceful…and is going into the hands of outsiders which will ultimately cause irreparable damage to image of the university,” he wrote in his one-page letter.
However, the protesting students said they were not expressing disrespect towards the stay order of the Supreme Court. “Nowhere are we opposing the stay order of the Supreme Court. Our protest is peaceful and we will begin our hunger strike. We have expressed no confidence against Prof. Singh’s administration.
Among the reasons provided by the students for the protest are allegations of financial irregularities, inaction against sexual harassment complaints, lack of transparency, suppression of students and the students’ association, arbitrary hiring and firing of faculty members, centralisation of administrative power, and alleged maladministration.
For the past few weeks, students of the HNLU under the Student Bar Association have been protesting against the V-C. On Augus 27, the Chhattisgarh High Court had quashed the extension given to Prof. Singh as V-C but the Supreme Court stayed the HC order on September 20.