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HNLU vice chancellor Sukh Pal Singh resigns, students call off hunger strike • Dr Samal: ‘History created’, to a brighter tomorrow

Sukh Pal Singh is out of HNLU, according to student reports
Sukh Pal Singh is out of HNLU, according to student reports

Word has come in that the embattled HNLU Raipur vice chancellor Sukh Pal Singh has resigned, according to several authoritative student sources, though the official confirmation has not yet been supplied to students.

HNLU student bar association (SBA) president Snehal Ranjan told us: “I got a call from the principal secretary of law at Chhattisgarh, who informed me that the resignation has been tendered, and the same has been confirmed by registrar of HNLU.”

The hunger strike has just now been called off, Ranjan added.

Singh has not responded to requests for comment since earlier today.

Update 2 October 2018: HNLU assistant professor Dr Avinash Samal, who had filed the writ in the Chhattisgarh high court that had resulted in the termination of Singh’s tenure in August, commented: “The students of HNLU have created history. Dr Sukh Pal Singh is out. He was forced to resign and the chancellor has accepted his resignation. The students have taken the project initiated by me to its logical conclusion.

“God bless them all. All of us at HNLU are looking forward to a better and brighter tomorrow and I sincerely hope that we will have it certainly.”

A total of 23 HNLU students had begun a hungerstrike today morning at 8am after a second round of protests for six days, demanding Singh’s resignation, following a (stayed) high court judgment ruling his term illegal, as well as several other grievances against his administration.

There had been major national media and political interest in the students’ protest.

However, much as in the case of NUJS Kolkata, the even harder and longer road may yet lie ahead of the students: whether Singh’s successor - if one is eventually found - will be an improvement for students and the university.

The administration at NUJS, for instance, has been in limbo since the appointment of interim VC Justice Amit Talukdar, without a new VC in sight.

And even if a search committee for a new VC is formed, there is no guarantee at any national law school that the appointment of a new VC will necessarily be meritocratic, rather than a political appointment by a state.

However, in late August, HNLU students had been optimistic about talks with the state-appointed interim VC, holding fruitful discussions (until the Supreme Court, one month later, had stayed the high court order disqualifying Singh’s term).

Update 2 October 2018: The SBA posted the following statement:

The Student Bar Association of Hidayatullah National Law University is elated to announce that Prof. (Dr). Sukh Pal Singh has tendered his resignation to the Hon’ble Chancellor of our university, Hon’ble Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court A. K. Tripathi on the 1st of October at approximately 6:30 pm. We are obliged to the Chancellor for accepting the resignation and ending the tyrannical rule of Singh.

The students ended their hunger strike with coconut water offered to them by the supporting faculty. Upon hearing the news, celebrations have ensued not just within the campus but outside as well. A peace march took place to reclaim the campus marking the end of Singh’s tyranny.

The student body is overwhelmed by the sacrifices made and the support offered from across the nation to the fasting students. We thank the alumni and the media profusely for their constant support. Without their help, it would have been impossible to get the national recognition that helped our struggle. From this moment on, the students shall end this night with the faith that tomorrow shall be a new dawn for HNLU.

This is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hail Hidayatullah.

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