Pokhara University in shambles again as professors launch protest

2015-01-04

Himalayan News Service

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Academic and administrative activities could not resume at Pokhara University (PU) despite appointments of acting Vice-Chancellor (VC) and other officials as professors of the University staged a hunger strike against some appointments.

Professors began a relay hunger strike since Wednesday evening against appointment of the Registrar and the Deans by acting VC Bishnuraj Tiwari. 

Ex-officio Chancellor of the University, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, had appointed Tiwari as acting VC after 24 PU officials including VC Khagendra Bhattarai were booked by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on embezzlement charges. 

Tiwari, then, had appointed Rajesh Thakurathi as Registrar, Anup Acharya as Examination Controller and Nirmala Jamarkattel, Deepak Bhandari and Ajay Thapa as Deans of Science and Technology, Management and Humanities faculties respectively. 

Agitating professors have claimed that the appointments are against the law. 

Professors loyal to UCPN-Maoist and CPN-Maoist have begun the strike, whereas some independent teachers have also supported the move. 

Though a UML-loyal professors’ association protested the decision in a statement, it did not take part in the demonstration. 

The protesting unions have claimed that the tradition of seniority was violated while picking the Registrar and Deans of various faculties. 

They, however, have endorsed the appointment of Tiwari as the acting VC. But, the VC appointed other office bearers based on their political ideology, according to the protestors. 

Employees have commented that administrative activities were halted due to the strike. Staff are unpaid and the University has been unable to operate bus services as budget was not released. 

Likewise, academic activities including examinations and result publications have been affected. 

Meanwhile, VC Tiwari has said seniority was considered while making the appointments. “We have raised voices for implementation of rules,” he said, “How can we violate them now?” 

He also added that he is trying to negotiate with the agitating professors.