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Don’t tamper with idea of Nalanda univ, Nitish tells Centre

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asked the Centre to “not tamper” with the idea and autonomy of Nalanda University, days after its chancellor George Yeo quit his post alleging the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was not kept in the loop about leadership change at the institution.

Speaking at a media Summit, Kumar also stated that he will write a letter to the Centre on the issue.

“Nalanda University is not like some other Central university. It has had its own history. We wanted to revive that history. So please, there should be no interference (in its functioning). The idea of re-establishing Nalanda University…please don’t tamper with it,” he said.

Noting that ex-Foreign Minister of Singapore Yeo, “was not an Indian”, Kumar said the former had “no political leanings” to have not been taken into confidence before the Centre moved to form the varsity’s governing body as per a 2010 Central act.

“He was actively involved in the idea of Nalanda University right from the beginning. Hence, he should have been taken into confidence (before forming the varsity’s governing body). I feel sad about it. Now, I will send formal letter on my behalf,” he added.

The Chief Minister also insisted on the need for the External Affairs Ministry “to understand the core sentiment (behind setting up the university)” of re-establishing a world renowned varsity before proceeding ahead in that direction.

“Once a wrong impression is created among countries across the world about the varsity, no matter how much effort you make those won’t help you regain the historic standards of the erstwhile Nalanda University,” he added.

Yeo, the second Chancellor of Nalanda University after Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, had last month resigned from the post saying the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change at the institution.

Kumar also lauded Sen for making a “lot of effort” towards building the institution before he was replaced by Yeo and sought to underscore that it was due to Bihar government’s initiative that the ancient university was revived.