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Amid protests, interview of Vijayan's pvt secy's wife begins for teaching post

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 18 (IANS) With complaints galore in the manner in which Kannur University in Kerala allegedly violated rules to "speed up the process of appointment" of the wife of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's private secretary as Associate Professor, the interview to the post began on Thursday morning amidst protests by the Youth Congress activists.

The Youth Congress activists early Thursday morning arrived at the residence of Kannur University vice-chancellor Gopinath Raveendran and locked the gate.

The ire of the protesters is against Raveendran as he is the person who is doing all this as he is retiring in a few days time.

The police had a tough time as the Congress protesters put up a stiff resistance and in the end the police had to use force and after removing the protesters, Raveendran's car moved forward as he wanted to be on time for the online interview.

In the melee, he told the media, the interview will go on as scheduled.

The Save University Campaign Committee and others have written to Kerala Higher Education Minister R. Bindhu and Kannur University Vice Chancellor Gopinath Raveendran to check if the UGC rules were violated while short listing Priya Varghese's name for the post.

Priya figures in the list of six candidates called for the interview.

The ground of those opposed to the way rules are being swept under the carpet to allegedly favour Priya is she joined as an Assistant Professor of Malayalam at the Kerala Varma College in Trissur in 2012.

And those who have come out against this pointed out that the qualifications for an Associate Professor includes PhD and eight years of teaching experience, adding Priya does not have that.

They claimed that for three years, she had taken leave for PhD, and it cannot be counted as teaching experience.

Besides, they submitted that her experience of two years, when she was student director on deputation at the Kannur University, also cannot be counted as teaching experience.

Therefore, taking these factors into consideration, she does not have the eight years teaching experience that has been prescribed as the qualification for the post of Associate Professor.

Priya however has reacted by saying that she has all the required qualifications, and she is eligible for the post and hence, she has applied.