Members of the Students for Society (SFS), a student organization from Panjab University, protested outside the PU vice-chancellor’s office after being refused permission to organize a talk titled ‘From Jamia to Shaheen Bagh: People’s movement against CAA-NRC’ on a campus auditorium Wednesday afternoon.
The students said that the Dean of University Instruction did not allow them, stating that the auditorium cannot be booked for “non-academic” purposes.
Students from SFS had attempted to book an auditorium in the varsity’s physics department for 3 pm on Wednesday for the talk, but the chairperson of the physics department, Professor Navdeep Goyal, allegedly refused to allow them to do so. “He said that it is too controversial a topic to be discussed in the department’s auditorium and asked us to seek the permission of the Dean of University Instruction,” said Varinder, SFS president.
“A student came to me with the application and I didn’t allow for it because we usually don’t give the auditorium away to students from other departments. How can I take responsibility for what students want to organize at my department’s auditorium? That’s why I didn’t allow it,” said Prof Goyal, adding, “We are already holding a departmental meeting at the auditorium at the time for which the student wished to book the space, so it’s not possible.”
Subsequently, the students went to the office of Dean University Instruction (DUI) Shankarji Jha and asked for his permission as well. “The application we submitted to book the space came back with remarks from the DUI stating that the auditorium cannot be booked for non-academic purposes,” said Varinder.
In the application given by the students, the DUI has signed that the program cannot be “allowed since it is of non-academic nature”. The DUI is then said to have referred the letter to the secretary of the V-C for approval. However, asked about the issue, Jha claimed he was not aware of any such incident, and refused to comment on the matter.
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