The vice chancellor of the Hidayatullah National Law University in Raipur resigned on Monday, hours after a group of students launched an indefinite hunger strike demanding his resignation. “I resigned today at 6.30 pm,” Sukh Pal Singh told Scroll.in.
In a letter to the protesting students on Sunday, Singh threatened to suspend classes indefinitely. The students have been protesting intermittently since August 27 against hostel curfews and restrictive library timings, alleged sexual harassment by teachers, harassment by hostel wardens and the administration’s mismanagement of state grants. The students said they have lost faith “in the incompetent administration of Dr Sukh Pal Singh and his style of arbitrary and discriminatory decision making”.
Singh was reinstated to the post on September 25, a week after the Supreme Court stayed the Chhattisgarh High Court’s order against extending his term. Soon after, the students began to ask for his resignation and handed over a no-confidence motion to him. Asked what will happen to the top court’s order, Singh said: “Everything ends with this resignation, beyond that I do not want to say anything.”
On Sunday, Singh claimed that the protest has damaged the image and academic environment of the university “despite the fact that the majority of students are in favour of restoring normalcy”. He said not just university students but outsiders have joined the demonstrations.
The students, however, did not attend classes on Monday morning, eliciting another appeal from Singh to “resume your classes etc so as to avoid any step/action which the university may be compelled to take in order to restore normalcy”.
Earlier on Monday, 25 students, who underwent a medical check up first, were permitted to officially participate in the strike. Another 100 students participated unofficially.