JORHAT, March 24 - Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, accompanied by AICC secretary and former Jorhat MLA Rana Goswami visited Assam Women�s University (AWU) at Rowriah today to extend support to the students who were opposing the proposed demotion of the university by the Government, and were also seeking fulfilment of their demands.
The students who have been undertaking a series of protests since the past fortnight were demanding appointment of a vice-chancellor to the university by the Government, and also sought development of the varsity into a full-fledged one by providing the necessary infrastructure and also by appointing permanent faculty members and staff.
Gogoi, while addressing the students, said that it was the only women�s university of the State established by his Government in 2014 after enacting an Act in the Assembly in 2013 .when the current Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma was in charge of the department.
Gogoi said he has come to the university not to play politics, but to extend support to the students whose future suddenly has become uncertain due to the Government not making any clear announcement on the subject of proposed demotion of the varsity.
�AWU should be treated as an asset that will develop human resources not only of the State, but of the entire Northeastern region,� the three-time Chief Minister said.
He urged the Government, especially Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who himself is a former student leader and Chancellor of the AWU, to make the Government�s stand on the issue clear. �His (Sonowal) Government should give priority to AWU and take necessary measures to develop the varsity into a full-fledged one.
Replying to a query of a student, Gogoi admitted that his Government should have started the process of developing the university in 2014.
Goswami while echoing Gogoi, said the issue of the university was above politics and all parties including the ruling BJP should join hands to develop it into a centre of excellence. If the Government wanted to add a technical wing, he and his party will support the move, but the status of women�s university should not be diluted at any cost, he said.
Goswami took potshots at the BJP-led State Government by saying that it came to power in the name of parivartan, though since the past one year had been neglecting the Education Department and �stirring up controversies� to divert people�s minds from its �failures�.
He also expressed apprehension about the Government thinking of closing down the Dr JK Saikia Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital here � the oldest homeopathic college of Assam � by neglecting the institute and not paying heed to the students� repeated calls for its development.