KOCHI: The controversy over setting a statue of Sree Sankara at the main gate of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, acquired a new dimension on Tuesday with BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan visiting the place and holding talks with the vice-chancellor Dr M.C. Dileep Kumar. The VC, while not allowing the television crew that accompanied Mr Kummanam inside, made it clear that the varsity authorities were firm on erecting the statue and will not allow anyone to exploit the situation. Mr Kummanam addressed a gathering outside and left the scene.
The Left-leaning Association of Sree Sankaracharya University Teachers (ASSUT), along with the supporters of SFI and AISF, is demanding that the statue should not be erected as there is already one statue near the administrative block. "Already religious worship is growing around this statue and if another, bigger one comes, that will accentuate and the secular character of the institution will be lost," said ASSUT member and associate professor Dr Sunil P Ilayidom.
Dr Kumar said that only a handful of people are protesting against installation of the statue. "The university did not have a main gate till recently and also access to MC Road as the area was under litigation. So after acquiring it, it was only proper on the part of the Syndicate to take the decision unanimously to install the statue. People belonging to different religions comprise the Syndicate. We don't allow any worshipping now and will not do so in future also," he said.
He also said that the BFA and MFA students are involved in making the sculpture and it needs two more weeks to complete the work and the statue will be unveiled after that. "Sankara is known for knowledge and it is only natural that his statue is unveiled at the varsity known after him," he said.