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Activists from the SFI and Left unions prevent the new Vice Chancellor of the Kalam varsity from taking office

Dr Ciza Thomas, the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, was prevented from assuming office. (Photos via University's Facebook page)

On Friday, activists of the Students’ Federation of India, the student wing of the Communist Party of India (M), and employees of pro-Left unions prevented Ciza Thomas from taking office as the vice chancellor of the A P J Abdul Kalam Technological University.

As of the other day, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan appointed Ciza Thomas, senior joint director with the State Technical Education Department, as the University’s Vice-Chancellor, pending the appointment of a regular Vice-Chancellor.

Ciza was appointed Vice Chancellor by Khan despite the recommendation of the state government to hand over the responsibility to Ishita Roy, Principal Secretary for higher education.

SFI activists and pro-Left unionists protested the Governor’s appointment of the V-C by raising slogans. Ciza needed to seek police protection in order to enter the office. She was not allowed to sign the official register, a requirement for taking charge, by the protesters.

Ciza told the media that she was shocked by the protests of university employees. In addition to my duties as Vice-Chancellor, I have been given additional responsibilities. For the conduct of exams and to protect students’ interests, the University should have a Vice-Chancellor. According to her, I would protect the interests of the students.

On October 21, the Supreme Court ruled that Dr M S Rajasree’s appointment as vice chancellor of the technological University was illegal and contrary to UGC regulations. The government had recommended Ishita Roy for the additional charge, but the Governor appointed Ciza temporarily.

Accordingly, the Governor also requested the resignation of 10 other vice-chancellors based on the SC order. The V-Cs then filed a motion with the high court. The high court has not yet made a decision.

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