Nagaland University Kohima Campus Faculty, Students Protest Harassment Of Pro-Vice Chancellor - Eastern Mirror
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Kohima, Nagaland

Nagaland University Kohima Campus faculty, students protest harassment of Pro-Vice Chancellor

By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Oct 19, 2023 12:25 am
Students and faculty of NU Kohima campus, Meriema, staging a protest on Wednesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Students and faculty of Nagaland University’s Kohima Campus in Meriema staged a protest on Wednesday over the alleged harassment meted out to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) of the varsity, and what they perceived as a ‘second-class citizen’ treatment from the Nagaland University headquarters in Lumami.

The matter pertains to an incident that occurred on October 16 when a group of people, allegedly from Meriema village, stopped the official vehicle of the PVC when he was on the way to his office, and prevented him from passing the area. They had also allegedly warned him of dire consequences if he did not pay heed to their warning, thereby compelling him to return home.

Following the incident, the Nagaland University Teaching Association (NUTA), Nagaland University Non-Teaching Staff Association, Nagaland University Students’ Union and Nagaland University Research Scholars Forum of Kohima had written a letter to the Vice Chancellor, NU, on October 16, informing him of their decision to suspend all activities in the campus until the PVC is allowed to enter the campus.

During the protest held on the campus, Professor Dr. Rosemary Dzuvichu, CEC Executive of the NUTA, expressed disappointment over the response of the Vice Chancellor to the harassment incident and various issues the campus has faced over the years. She said that they had expected the VC to address their grievances in person but it ended in a video conference.

She further expressed dissatisfaction over the VC’s alleged statement that ‘the issue is not an issue of the university and has nothing to do with it,’ stating that it was “very wrong” to respond in that manner.

Professor Dzuvichu also highlighted several issues the campus has faced, including infrastructure challenges, lack of classrooms and equipment, and the absence of an auditorium, which they have been requesting for years.

She questioned why the fact-finding committee from Lumami only arrived after the Pro-Vice Chancellor was threatened, even though the committee had been in place for some time. She also raised concerns about the alleged discrimination faced by Naga teachers from the university authorities, emphasising the need for respectful behaviour in a central university that is open to all Indian citizens.

“We have heard of derogatory words been used even against women and these behaviours are totally unacceptable to a teaching community that too in a central university which is open to all citizens of India,” she maintained.

“What makes us second class citizens in the university set up?” she asked.

The NUTA is planning to send a representation to the Vice Chancellor, emphasising his responsibility as the head of the institution. It has given a 48-hour deadline to the fact-finding committee of NU to find a solution to the matter.

“We cannot blame the whole village for what had happened,” she said, adding that they must live peacefully as neighbours.

‘The land has been donated to the university by the state government (as per the MoU), and therefore, the continuous issue of land donors/ land owners should be settled by the state government. Claiming of ownership has become quite controversial over the years,’ she said, adding that they also faced a number of similar issues in the past.

Professor N. Venuh, former Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of Department of History and Archeology, noted that they had written to the VC, hoping for action, but the response showed that he had “no concern.” He clarified that, since the letter was written by the associations, according to protocol, it should have been addressed to the associations rather than the victim.

He went on to add that the campus has been trying to solve all the problems without taking it to the headquarters. But even when the matter has become very serious and the head of the campus is ‘threatened’ and not allowed entry to the campus, the university authorities are taking it ‘very lightly’.

“It is because of his (VC) negligence (that) we are having a protest,” Prof Venuh added.

Meanwhile, the Meriema Village Council, in a letter dated October 16 to the additional deputy commissioner of Chiephobozou, indicated that the PVC was stopped by the “aggrieved contractors for not releasing their bill”. The council also clarified that they do not encourage any citizen or group to hamper development activities or block roads on the NU Kohima campus.

The village council and ADC Chiephobozou requested the aggrieved contractors not to hinder the activities of the NU Kohima campus and resolve the issue within a week, an offer accepted by the aggrieved party.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Oct 19, 2023 12:25:02 am
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