The decision of the Uttarakhand Higher Education Department to suspend its director and the principal of a post graduate college took on a political colour in the hill state on Friday when the staff of the MB government post graduate college in Haldwani (Nainital) launched a strike against the decision.

A chemistry practical examination to be held on Friday was cancelled.

According to sources, Uttarakhand higher education minister Dhan Singh Rawat had differences with the Haldwani college principal Jagdish Prasad over his refusing to cancel the admission of a National Students Union of India candidate M Arya four months ago before the student union polls.

The Uttarakhand higher education department issued the suspension order to its director Dr B C Malkani, two principals of post graduate colleges and one assistant teacher on Thursday.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was demanding cancelling admission of NSUI candidate Arya during the student union polls Dhan Singh Rawat jumped into the controversy. Four months later action has been taken against the principal of the Haldwani college for not following his instructions, sources said.

There were protests in Ramnagar, Haldwani and Nainital on Friday. The agitation is likely to intensify if the state government fails to take corrective measures.