Forget about giving importance to girls’ education, Assam is reportedly bent on getting rid of the only women’s university in the entire North-east and degrading it to a technical institute.
The people of Jorhat, however, are not taking this lightly.
A citizens’ meet organized by the Jorhat Sanmilit Nagarik Mancha in Jorhat on Friday to condemn the move, witnessed tears, anger, attrition, but above all a unity to oppose the degradation, tooth and nail.
From contacting the Prime Minister’s office to taking legal recourse, from protests to using the social media, suggestions were put forth to stall the conversion viewed largely as an act which was meant to demean Jorhat as well as the earlier Congress government.
State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, could not be contacted to confirm the truth. Repeated attempts on his phone went unanswered on Friday. A call to the officer on special duty, Dharmananda Baruah elicited the response that he was driving from Lakhimpur and could not take the call – claim that could not be verified by this correspondent.
Established with much fanfare in 2014, by an Act of the State Legislative Assembly under the then Tarun Gogoi led government, the University was set up in a grain storage facility of the Assam Agricultural University at Rowriah after hasty renovations.
The University has 15 departments being run by teachers, all appointed on ad hoc basis with no academic council and no Vice Chancellor.
The Assam Agricultural University Vice Chancellor, KM Bujarbaruah is its mentor and is being run by a few other officials delegated by the government on temporary basis with more than 500 students.
Two batches of students have already passed out from the university.
The clarification sought from Sarma, looked upon as a people’s representative, was that would the earlier Act be repealed and a new Act passed by the present Assembly for the conversion to a technical university or whether this institute reported widely in the media, be part of the University.
Scientist Paran Baruah said that he had contacted Jorhat MLA Hitendra Nath Goswami early Friday morning and the Speaker had said that he was also worried about this and it was at his behest that the matter was stopped from reaching the Cabinet.
Senior journalist Prafulla Rajguru while condemning the move also partly blamed the previous government for not allotting funds for permanent land and Infrastructure and allowing teachers to be appointed on an ad hoc basis and temporary staff all working for nominal wages.
Senior citizen Bhabba Chetia said that the people of Jorhat should explore legal options.
Bhairob Bora, general secretary of the Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti, said that he would start a signature campaign in other universities and among the people.
All the speakers were unanimous in their opinion as to why a technical institute should be established at the cost of the university.