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The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration on Wednesday cancelled events on Babri Masjid and Ram Janmbhoomi scheduled to be held in the campus in order to “maintain communal harmony”. These included a talk by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Ram Mandir, as well as an event by the JNU students’ union in which CPM leader Prakash Karat, among others, was supposed to speak.
“The competent authority has cancelled public lectures/talks on the issue of Ramjanm Bhumi and Babari Masjid in the campus on December 6 in order to maintain communal harmony, and peace and stability n the campus. Academic discussion on various themes are always permitted that contribute to knowledge enhancement and social order,” Dean of Students Umesh Kadam said in a notice.
Swamy was supposed to deliver a talk on ‘Why Ram Mandir in Ayodhya’ at the Koyna Hostel. He was invited by the Vivekanand Vichar Manch – a group of 1o students, who had organized the event to “salute legendary fighter and martyrs” of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. However, the senior warden of the hostel on Tuesday evening issued a notice to the organizers saying the event “has been cancelled”.
Similarly, JNUSU’s programme on “Reclaiming the Republic: In Defence of Our Syncretic Culture, Constitutional Morality and Secularism” was also cancelled by the administration on Wednesday. Besides Karat, Kavita Krishnan from CPI-ML, JNU professor Jayati Ghosh and former JNU president Albeena Shakil were to speak at the event.
Prachi Singh, one of the organizers of the Swamy event, however, said the JNUSU programme was cancelled because of pressure from students. “Initially, they had cancelled just our programme. When they started feeling the pressure from students, on why just one event was being cancelled, they had to cancel the JNUSU programme today morning. I don’t believe, therefore, that this has anything to do with maintaining communal harmony otherwise the same decision should have been taken earlier itself,” she said.
The ABVP too condemned the decision to cancel the Swamy event calling it a ‘Tughlaqi farman’. JNUSU president Geeta Kumari called the decision to cancel their event “censorship”. “JNU has been organizing programmes on the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition every year. Our programme topic didn’t even mention Babri Masjid or Ram Janmabhoomi. This shows the ideological inclination that the administration has decided to cancel our event. We have only seen a public notice in this regard; no direct order has reached us. Also, we didn’t ask that the Swamy event be cancelled,” she said.
Kadam did not respond to calls by the Indian Express.