A Lord Ganesha idol which was installed in at the entrance to the director’s secretariat of the Shillong-based institute on September 23 has now been removed owing to pressure from the student union. Authorities at National Institute of Technology (NIT) Meghalaya have decided to remove the idol, which was installed only a week ago, as local student body believe that it might lead to ‘communal’ tensions in the Christian majority state.
Jaintia Students Union (JSU), the student body that has pressurised NIT to remove the idol had insisted that the Lord Ganesh idol, displayed prominently in the university was hurting the religious sentiments of students who belonged to other faiths.
The JSU on September 26 had sent a memorandum to NIT Meghalaya director BB Biswal demanding the immediate removal of the idol. The JSU had reportedly warned the Director that the decision of NIT Meghalaya to instal an idol of Lord Ganesha prominently in the campus might lead to communal tension in the Christian majority state.
After cowering to pressure, director of NIT-Meghalaya Bibhuti Bhusan Biswal said on Monday that there was no ‘installation’ of the Lord Ganesha statue and it was only a ‘decorative item’, which was put in the passage. “There was no religious angle to it”, he had said.
Further, Bhushan, the Director of NIT Meghalaya said that there was no intention to create any religious issue out of it. But the students thought otherwise. “It will now be removed,” said director Biswal.
The Lord Ganesha idol was reportedly carved by a national award-winning sculptor. JSU had suggested to the university that instead of Lord Ganesha, the university should instal busts of famous scientists, personalities from the field of arts, literature, etc.
NIT Meghalaya started in 2012 and is one of the 31 NITs in the country. The institute is functioning from its temporary campus in Shillong at present and will shift later to the permanent one in Cherrapunjee, which is under construction.
According to the 2011 census, over 74% of the total population in Meghalaya are Christians. The state has three major tribes, Khasi, Garo and Jaintia.