Tension prevailed on the campuses of Fergusson College and Ranade Institute on Thursday. A heavy police bandobast was in place at both campuses in anticipation of untoward events. With political parties jumping into the fray, the situation has escalated quickly. Both academicians and students criticised the politicisation of the issue.
Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune | Published: March 25, 2016 10:07 am
“The students at Ranade Institute emailed us and said they were feeling insecure after one political outfit threatened to harm students if Kanhaiya Kumar was invited to the campus. But I don’t know why this issue even came up since no event has been planned for Kanhaiya. Politics should not enter college campuses. We are now sending the students’ letter with a note to the Deccan police and asking for protection,” said Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) Vice-Chancellor Wasudeo Gade.
Sujat Ambedkar, great grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was one of the Ambedkarite students protesting ABVP’s event, too condemned politicisation of the issue. “We are college students. We didn’t invite Jitendra Awhad, but had to welcome him since he came to support us. However, with so many political groups jumping into the fray, we feel they should not use this issue for their gain,” he said.
ABVP’s Fergusson College unit has also issued a press statement. “ABVP condemns Fergusson College campus being turned into a political arena by all parties,” said the statement. Meanwhile, the management of Deccan Education Society and Fergusson College sent a press statement on Thursday and asked all political and social organisations to allow the smooth running of academic activities at the college.
U-turn on complaint
Fergusson College authorities had sent a letter to the Deccan police on Tuesday, stating anti-national slogans were raised on the campus. However, the letter was withdrawn on Wednesday and termed ‘a typographical error’. “The letter was written to the police under tremendous tension due to the chaos on the campus. The said letter was drafted by my office and I had little time to verify the contents. It was a result of human error. It was not intended to hurt the feelings of any person or group. As an educational institute, we do not believe in taking sides,” said an official statement, emailed by principal Dr R G Pardeshi’s office, on Thursday.
This came after both ABVP and Deccan police, present during the faceoff, said they didn’t hear any anti-national slogans. Pradeep Gawde, a functionary of the ABVP Pune unit, said, “Ambedkarite students raised slogans in favour of Kanhaiya Kumar and other leftist ideologies, but not anti-national slogans.” An officer from Deccan Gymkhana police said, “The principal had given an application, asking us to look into anti-national slogans given at the time of the meetings. We had asked them to give us specific examples and furnish any evidence like a video or audio clip. Our teams were present there and no slogans which could be termed anti-national were raised.”