SFI Accuses Kerala Governor of Saffronising Higher Education Institutes, Hold Strike
SFI members marching towards the Kerala Raj Bhavan, condemning the nomination of sangh parivar affiliates to the Senates of Kerala and Calicut Universities.
The Students' Federation of India (SFI) in Kerala continues its various protests against the alleged nomination of Sangh Parivar-associated members to the Senate of Kerala and Calicut Universities by Chancellor and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. Following an 'education strike' on December 6, the SFI marked December 7 as 'Higher Education Protection Day' across campuses.
At the University of Kerala, student council representatives have been staging a 24-hour dharna in front of the university since December 7, while Calicut University counterparts plan to initiate a similar dharna from December 8.
Accusing the Chancellor of appointing Sangh Parivar members, the SFI Kerala unit alleged an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership to saffronise higher education campuses, thereby undermining healthy debates and the democratic atmosphere.
In strong condemnation, the SFI organised a massive march to Raj Bhavan, the Governor's residence, on December 6, demanding his resignation. P M Arsho, the SFI state secretary, accused the Governor of desperately trying to saffronise higher education campuses. "The Governor is attempting to convert the universities into Sangh Parivar centres," he stated. "Instead of appointing experts and excellent students as per university norms, he has nominated members of various Sangh Parivar organisations," he added.
The Governor recently nominated 17 members to the Senate of the University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram and 18 members to Calicut University. The SFI alleges that the Chancellor rejected the universities' suggestions for nominations to the student constituencies.
Arsho criticised the nominations, citing instances where candidates with no published results or low university scores were selected, despite university recommendations. SFI's banner at the University of Kerala's Karyavattom campus reads, “Mr Governor, we won't allow higher education campuses to become RSS Shakhas.”
The nomination of the spouse of a Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) leader, who was sentenced to life for a murder case involving an SFI leader's father in Thiruvananthapuram district, is particularly concerning, according to Arsho.
Arsho further mentioned that the Governor nominated journalists from Janam TV and Janmabhumi, known as BJP mouthpieces, to the Senate. "The question SFI wants to raise is who presented the list of Sangh Parivar members, including those from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to the Senates of the two universities," Arsho added.
SFI questioned the silence of other prominent student unions in the state, Kerala Students Union (KSU) and Muslim Students Federation (MSF), affiliated with Congress and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) respectively, attributing it to the nomination of one member each from Congress and IUML to the Calicut University Senate.
Arsho emphasised that if the Chancellor continues with the saffronisation agenda, the SFI will prevent him from entering any state campus. "We're observing December 7 as Higher Education Protection Day against the Chancellor's actions and will continue our protests until the nominations are withdrawn," Arsho asserted. Earlier on December 2, following the news of the nominations, the SFI, led by state president K Anushree, organised a Raj Bhavan march, urging the Governor to resign.
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