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Kerala Law Academy: Principal removed, students to continue stir

Thiruvananthapuram: In a face saving formula worked out with a section of striking students belonging to the Students Federation of India, Kerala Law Academy College, on Tuesday said it has removed the Principal, against whom a FIR had been registered for a non-bailable offence and various allegations had been raised.

“The development comes as a huge blow to the college Principal Lekshmi Nair, also a popular television cookery show host in the CPI(M)-supported Malayalam television channel, Kairali, as she had refused to budge even an inch to any of the demands of the students.

Though SFI, an outfit of the ruling CPI(M), has called off its stir, a major section of students, belonging to outfits of other political parties said they would further intensify the agitation until the Principal puts in her papers.

The 21-day old combined strike by students, was primarily to seek Principal’s resignation, for allegedly fudging attendance and internal marks, forcing some of them to work in a canteen run by her in the campus and addressing students by their caste names.

On Monday, Police had registered a case against the principal under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

In further troubles for the private college management, Education Minister Prof C Ravindranath on Tuesday instructed the Higher Education Principal Secretary to direct the Kerala university to take stern action against the institution as its functioning had become ‘inappropriate’ as per the University Rules and Regulations.

The direction was issued after considering the reports of the Sub committees appointed to look into the alleged irregularities in giving internal marks, conducting examinations and lapses in course regulations.

The government has also ordered a probe into the utilisation of land assigned to the Academy at Peroorkada.

BJP national executive member, V Muraleedharan, who is continuing with his fasting stir in front of the Academy, alleged that the agreement, reached between the management and SFI, was “pre-planned”.

Announcing the decision of the management, Academy Director N Narayanan Nair, father of Lekshmi Nair, told reporters that she was removed from the post and Vice-Principal had been given the additional charge of principal.

The student’s stir took a political turn as Narayanan Nair is the brother of former CPI(M) MLA Koliyakkod Krishnan Nair.

Meanwhile, police used water cannon and lathi charge to chase away BJP activists, who blocked traffic near the campus demanding the principal’s resignation.

Many BJP workers, including its senior leader K Surendran were injured.

As a mark of protest, the saffron party has called for a hartal in Thiruvananthapuram district on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Kerala High Court refused a plea of Lekshmi Nair seeking direction to the police to remove the pandal erected by the agitating students in front of the institution.

PTI