Two days after the local BJP unit and the ABVP launched a protest against Widerstand, the students’ magazine of Pondicherry Central University, the Union HRD Ministry and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi have sought an explanation from the university about allowing publication of a magazine purportedly “critical” of the Central government.
According to a senior university official, Vice Chancellor Anisa B Khan has already responded to queries from the ministry about the magazine and is likely to meet Bedi Thursday to brief her about its contents. “Both HRD ministry and the Governor’s office sought explanations after BJP protests and burning of copies,” the official said. Bedi had reportedly asked the V-C how such a magazine was allowed to be published.
The magazine, which called research scholar Rohith Vemula’s death an institutional murder, was released by a senior official of Hyderabad Central University — Dean of Students’ Welfare Prakash Babu, who was blamed for acting against Dalit students even after Vemula’s death. The magazine was released last week.
“Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy was supposed to be the chief guest. But as he failed to attend the programme, the HCU dean and V-C Khan, who were both at the venue, released the magazine. Soon, the HCU dean registered his protest with university officials over a page in the magazine titled ‘Tribute to the martyrs of institutional murders’,” said a student who was at the release function.
Registrar in-charge of Pondicherry Central University M Ramachandran said while Widerstand has not been banned, its distribution had been stopped as it had offended a section of people. Anjali G, the magazine’s student editor, said they had not agreed to make any corrections or changes to the content as it was just a critique of recent events.