Did no wrong, Akalis politicising issue: Dyal Singh College Chairman

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New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Sticking to the decision to change name of the Dyal Singh College, its governing body chairman Amitabh Sinha on Thursday said that the administration had done no wrong and accused the Akali Dal of politicising the issue in the name of minority rights.

“We did what was in the interest of the college. The new name was necessary legally and morally… I am pained and anguished to be accused of hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community.

“A lobby of the Dyal Singh College staff members had roped in the Shiromani Akali Dal to cry foul over the ‘hurt Sikh sentiments’ when they failed to think of no other way to halt the educational reforms,” he told reporters here.

Responding to the rap he received from the Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday, Sinha said he wasn’t sure if the minister said what he said “under pressure from someone” and that “he should have avoided such words”.

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“The Delhi University is completely autonomous to take any decision… they can take any legal action they want. What we did was right. The name of the college will be Dyal Singh, we are only prefixing ‘Vande Mataram’ before it,” he said.

The controversy over the name of one of the two morning Dyal Singh Colleges had erupted on Wednesday when Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, of the Akali Dal, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that Sinha be sacked for changing the college’s name to ‘Vande Mataram Dyal Singh College’.

Javadekar had, on Wednesday, said that he had come to know of news reports that the Dyal Singh College’s name has been changed and wanted to “clarify that the college name will not be changed. There should not be any question about it”.

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“The management can only call them Dyal Singh College ‘one’ and ‘two’, or Dyal Singh College ‘A’ and ‘B’… and we will take strict action against the college management for daring to change the name,” he had said.

Sinha said that in his meeting with the HRD Minister last November, the latter was convinced of being “misled” by the Akali Dal on the issue and had allowed the matter to be decided between the college authority and the university.

He said that the minister went back on his promise and that his current intervention was “misplaced” which “belies the trust” that was reposed in the office.

As of now, the request for the name change technically lies pending with the university.

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The alleged change in name had come to light through some news reports which had claimed that the college had used the name ‘Vande Mataram Dyal Singh College’ on the banners put up during the annual event of the college on April 25.

The college is named after Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, the founder of The Tribune Trust (1881) and the Punjab National Bank (1894). The philanthropist had set up Dyal Singh Trust, which in 1910 established the Dyal Singh College in Lahore.

The educational institution was operating morning and evening shifts earlier but the evening shift too was changed to morning hours last year. At present, two colleges are functioning in the morning shift from the common campus.

–IANS

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