Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said SNDP Union general secretary Vellappally Natesan should refrain from attempting to devalue the social stature of the Sree Narayana Guru Open University (SNGOU) by faulting the government for not appointing a person from a particular caste or community to the post of the Vice Chancellor.
He said academic qualification and administrative experience were the sole criteria for the appointment. The government had purposely chosen to honour the legacy of the guru by naming the university after him. It was no coincidence.
The government had received universal acclaim for venerating the life and work of the seer as a social reformer and renaissance leader who pointed Kerala in the direction of social progress and enlightenment.
Moreover, the guru had batted for a casteless secular society and stressed the value of knowledge in his writings and teachings. His teachings had resonated strongly among a large section of people who were denied education and remained marginalised for centuries. Guru’s stress on the importance of learning had liberated them.
Mr. Vijayan read out the names of Vice Chancellors of other universities in the State. The government had nominated them based on merit. It had not favoured one caste or community over the other. Mr. Natesan’s reaction had surprised him. The SNDP union leader had misunderstood the spirit of the decision, and he should rectify his stance.
Mr. Natesan had on Friday slammed the government for not appointing a member from the ‘Sree Narayana community’ to the post of the Vice Chancellor and choosing P.M. Mubarak Pasha instead.
He had singled out Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel for choosing a “non-resident Keralite” from “Malabar” as the head of the university. Mr. Natesan had accused the government of stabbing the ‘Sree Narayana devotees’ in the eye and sacrificing their welfare to appease some vested interests.
BJP State president K. Surendran had backed Mr. Natesan and said the government had sacrificed the interests of the majority community.