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Allahabad University writes to Centre blaming British officials' visit for intensified stir at campus

Allahabad University writes to Centre blaming British officials visit for intensified stir at campus

The administration of Allahabad University (AU) has written to the Union education ministry complaining that a recent visit of two officials of the British High Commission in Delhi to the university campus has intensified the ongoing agitations on the campus.

In a statement released on Thursday, the AU administration said that the visit of two High Commission officials on August 29 was brought to their notice "through reports in the press" and that these officials had interacted with students from various departments through "so-called student leaders", according to a report in the Indian Express.

The university in the statement also alleged that the officials made provocative statements among the students on some controversial topics, including the issue of students' union.

The AU administration claimed that this resulted in students agitating and protesting in and around the university on the issue of fee hikes.

The administration also said that the High Commission officials neither contacted any university official nor informed them about their visit to the campus nor sought any permission.

As per a report by IE, Richard Barlow, the head of Political and Bilateral Affairs at the British High Commission in New Delhi; and Bhavana Vij, senior political economic adviser, visited the AU campus on August 29.

During the three-day visit to Prayagraj, the officials held informal interaction with "an alumna of a UK Government-funded programme for young Indians", and met officials of the UP government and district administration.

AU Public Relations Officer Jaya Kapoor told IE that the incident was unfortunate and said that there are certain protocols, which should have been followed while visiting the campus.

She further added that the university came to know through newspapers that the officials spoke on some sensitive issues like the students' union.

After their visit, the protests against the fee hike intensified and that drew the university's attention.

The British High Commission spokesperson said, "The British High Commission meets and engages with a range of individuals and organisations as part of the UK's work in India. We cannot comment further on the content or specific aspects of private meetings."

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