AASU irked as VCs of Assam varsities appeal for peace

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against India's new citizenship law in Guwahati. AFP

Vice-chancellors of about 20 universities of Assam on Thursday urged students not to endanger their future but help in maintaining peace and harmony in the state which is witnessing mass protests against the amended Citizenship Act.

The appeal has not gone down well with the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) which is spearheading the protests, as it asked the VCs to go and tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revoke the Act for the future of the students in the state.

The plea of the VCs of government and private universities was published in all leading newspapers as an advertisement by the state's Directorate of Information & Public Relations.

"Students and all sections of the society should cooperate with the university authorities to ensure that the educational calendar including the scheduled examinations are held without any disruption," the appeal said adding that the prevailing situation in the state may affect the future of the student community.

The students are the future resources of the state and the vice-chancellors are always there as their guardians, the vice-chancellors said.

"In this era of globalisation, we want the student community of Assam to march hand in hand with the students of the world," they said.

Reacting to the VC's statement, AASU Chief Adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya questioned why the academicians did not utter a single word against the "killing of students" in police firing during the protests in Guwahati.

"In the appeal, they said they are the guardians of the students. Then we respectfully request them to go to the prime minister on government expense and tell him to repeal the Act for the future of the students of Assam," he said.

AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the VCs do not dare to speak against the government but they are trying to kill the peoples' movement by indirectly threatening the students.

AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath claimed that the academicians are attempting to mislead the students through a government-sponsored advertisement.

"We have filed a case in the Supreme Court along with many others. We are hopeful that the judiciary will deliver justice and Assam will be saved," Nath said.

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