The crisis in Delhi University over continuing the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme deepened today after reports of the resignation of Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh which remained unconfirmed.
In the midst of a battle with the University Grants Commission, which had asked the university to roll-back the four-year course and revert to three-year structure, DU's media coordinator Malay Neerav sent an SMS to mediapersons in the afternoon that said "VC has resigned".
When contacted, Malay said "I have been given only this much to reveal. I do not have any more details." But he remained inaccessible after reports emerged that the VC has not resigned indeed.
When news of resignation spread, celebrations broke out in the university campus with students and teachers opposed to the FYUP dancing to beat of drums and distributing sweets among themselves.
The HRD Ministry, whose senior officials maintained that no resignation has been received by them, went into discussion with UGC officials to work out a solution for the impasse following the Commission's ultimatum to the DU to wind up the four-year course.
The deadline expired yesterday but the DU failed to send its compliance report to the UGC on restoring the three-year course. Yesterday, the Principals' Association of the DU decided to defer the admission process that was to start today covering over 2.70 lakh applicants clamouring for over 54,000 seats in 64 colleges.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the besieged Vice Chancellor met him and claimed that he has not resigned.
Madhu Kishwar, journalist-activist and supporter of the VC, claimed after a meeting with him that he has authorised her to tell the media that he has not resigned.
Pro VC Sudhish Pachauri, who was also against the VC quitting the post, said he has not resigned, a stand that was also echoed by the VC's lawyer
The lawyer said they would challenge the UGC's directive in the court because it does not have the power to "control" a University.
Lawyer Suraj Singh said the autonomy of DU has to be preserved as UGC's directive is illegal.
Earlier reports said that Singh, a professor of maths, who has been Vice Chancellor for less than four years, had quit his in an apparent move to establish the university's autonomy.
The reported resignation came after the HRD ministry washed its hands off asking the DU and the UGC to resolve the issue amicably.
Delhi University Teachers' Association President and member of UGC's standing committee Nandita Narain welcomed the Vice Chancellor's decision saying he had no choice at all.
"He had lost his moral authority to be in the seat altogether because his position became completely untenable," she said.
Rejecting arguments that he stood for autonomy, Narain said it was the power of the UGC to decide whether a degree is recognised or not and no VC can challenge that.
However, A N Mishra, DU's Executive Council member, who is a strong supporter of the VC and the FYUP, said Singh's resignation was unfortunate.
"The VC was forced to take such a decision for defending the University's autonomy. This is the beginning of the fall of the University. This is unfortunate that somebody has to resign to protect the autonomy of the university," he said.
Mishra said that their fight to protect the academic freedom of the university will continue.
Support for the Vice Chancellor also came from Kishwar who said the HRD Ministry was putting pressure on Singh to resign his post.
Kishwar, a self-confessed admirer of Narendra Modi, said the developments in the university will be the biggest blot on the new government which has been self-inflicted.
Welcoming the resignation, Delhi University Students Union President Aman Awana said the VC had made FYUP a personal issue and adopted a stubborn attitude. He should have instead accepted the demand for a three-year course.