Students of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) here in Meghalaya on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to appoint a full-fledged vice chancellor before September 30, and warned of an agitation if it was not done.
Three students' organisations -- the Khasi Students Union-NEHU unit, the Meghalaya Post Graduate Students' Union and the NEHU Students' Union -- under the banner of a joint action committee (JAC) pinned black ribbons on their shirts to protest against the "failure" of the central government to appoint a vice chancellor.
"It is one year now that we have been demanding from the central government to appoint a vice chancellor. But the government is yet to fulfil our demand. Therefore, we have set September 30 as the deadline to appoint a full-fledged vice-chancellor or face the music," KSU-NEHU vice president Pynkmenlang Sanmiet told journalists.
NEHU, one of India's premier central universities, has been functioning without a permanent vice chancellor for the last two years.
The union human resource development (HRD) ministry appointed P. Shukla as acting vice chancellor, and also appointed two other professors as acting registrar and acting controller of examinations.
"The failure of the central government to appoint a full-fledged vice chancellor has affected the normal functioning of the university and badly affected the students.
"They (central government) have been neglecting NEHU and treated it as if it is out of the purview of the HRD ministry," the student leader said.
He said the reason why NEHU has slipped down in the list of India's top 10 universities was because of the failure of the central government to ensure its smooth functioning.
The JAC had submitted a memorandum in June to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, HRD Minister Smriti Irani and the University Grants Commission chairman, urging them to immediately appoint a vice chancellor.
Former union minister Vincent H. Pala, who is the also the Lok Sabha member from Shillong, has also sought the intervention of the central government to appoint a vice chancellor at the earliest in the interest of the students.
Pala said the university was established for the northeastern states. But for more than a year now, there has been no vice chancellor. A committee was set up to select a suitable person, but it has not been able to do so till now.