Tripura University angry at EC direction

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Agartala, Feb 18: Tripura University (Central) has refused to accept the direction of the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) asking the institution to suspend an accused lecturer for taking part in the election campaign.

Official sources here today said after receiving the directive of suspension from the CEO, the university had made a representation to the election authority explaining that they were not under the perview of election commission and the employees of the university had the right to participate in the process.

''However, we sent the accused lecturer of Political Science department Dr Alok Bhattacharjee on a leave from Friday last, but we can't suspend him and that has also been informed to the CEO,'' said university Registrar Dr K B Jamatia.

The election commission recently asked the varsity authority to suspend Alok Bhattacharjee as he was reported to have campaigned in favour of Congress candidate for Bishalgarh constituency and former chief minister Samir Ranjan Burman.

CPM's Bhanulal Saha filed a formal compliant with the EC alleging that Bhattacharjee being a 'government employee' had worked for a political party and CEO Dr G S G Ayyangar had probed into the allegation and sought clarification from university last week.

Tripura University argued that Dr Bhattacharjee being a central varsity teacher was 'in strict sense not a government employee'. The letter signed by university-registrar K B Jamatia pointed out Tripura University is an autonomous body and as such the rules prohibiting government employees from participating in poll campaign or any political activities did not apply for him.

The reply could not satisfy the EC and the CEO in a letter asked the varsity to suspend the teacher, but the varsity did not comply.

Instead the varsity asked Mr Bhattacharjee to go on leave until the election process was over.

''We have consulted other central universities and also took advice from senior legal experts and they all supported our contention since the university is an autonomous body its teachers can take part in political activities,'' Mr Jamatia said adding that political leaders like Dr Ashim Dasgupta were also from university and in Meghalaya also several NEHU teachers are contesting the Assembly polls this year.

He indicated that if needed the university authority would even move the High Court seeking a specific ruling on the issue.


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