No plans to challenge Guv's order, says suspended Veterinary varsity VC

Prof M R Saseendranath. Photo: Screegrab/ Manorama News

Thrissur: Prof. (Dr.) M R Saseendranath who was suspended from the post of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) Vice-Chancellor over the death of a student at the university men's hostel expressed his disappointment over the governor's action. Addressing the media here on Saturday, Saseendranath said that the governor took action against him without seeking an explanation. But he declared that he would not move legally against the governor's order. 

He pointed out that he received the suspension order through WhatsApp amid preparations to sign the university's order suspending the college Dean and assistant warden of the men's hostel over the death of Sidharthan.

On Saturday, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan as chancellor of the universities in Kerala suspended Saseendranath from the post of VC after citing lapses of the university authority in checking the brutal torture of Sidharthan who was found hanging inside the hostel's toilet. 

“ After studying the report from the anti-ragging cell, I have found serious lapses on the part of the Dean and assistant warden in monitoring day-to-day activities at the men's hostel. Later, I initiated action to suspend both officials. But the governor suspended me from the VC post before signing this order against the Dean and assistant warden,” said Saseendranath.

At the same time, he refused to term his suspension as a revengeful act of the governor.

“ We shared a cordial relationship with each other. I don't think he suspended me from the post out of vengeance. I have no plans to challenge his order legally. I have only left five months in the VC post. But I'm very disappointed as the governor issued the order without seeking an explanation from me,” he added.

The anti-ragging committee has found that 31 people were involved in the brutal ragging of Sidharthan. Among them, the university debarred 19 students who took leadership for the crime from continuing their studies for the next three years.

Retired professor PC Sassendran of the College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences at Thrissur's Mannuthy will be appointed as the acting Vice-Chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Wayanad.

Guv's order
In the suspension order, Khan said that the development which led to the death of the student indicated that the affairs in the university were not being attended to by the VC "with desired sincerity, gravity and promptness as mandated in the Act/Statutes" and other relevant rules and regulations in force. 

"The lack of regard to the harmonious atmosphere in the campus and indifference towards the affairs of the university under the leadership of the incumbent VC has gone to a level beyond comprehension in terms of the Rule of Law, which is an ominous sign and does not augur well for the conduct of affairs in the university and for the higher education sector in the state for the times to come," the order said.

The Governor further said that the present state of affairs in the university necessitates an urgent exemplary action and a detailed enquiry into the matter according to the provisions of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Act 2010.

"In order to have a fair enquiry in this matter, I, the Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, being the appointing authority, hereby order that Prof (Dr) M R Saseendranath, Vice Chancellor, Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University shall be placed under suspension with immediate effect, pending enquiry," Khan said. 

During the suspension period, he will be entitled to subsistence allowance and other allowances admissible as per rules, the order said. Saseendranath was appointed as VC of the university on July 23, 2019.

Congress to intensify protest
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan claimed that after Sidharthan's death, the SFI was spreading false stories about him and also lodged a false complaint against the student. Satheesan also accused the ruling CPM of protecting the accused in the case. He said that the Congress would be organising a protest in all block-level headquarters on Saturday.

Besides that, an indefinite hunger strike will begin in Thiruvananthapuram under the leadership of KSU, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress presidents from Monday, the opposition leader said in a statement. Sidharthan, who was a second-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry student, was found hanging in the bathroom of his hostel on February 18. His parents have claimed that some of his college mates told them that he was beaten to death by some local SFI leaders and activists.

(With PTI inputs)

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