For organising a talk on ‘love jihad’ in November last year, Lucknow University (LU) authorities have expelled the Uttar Pradesh president of All India Student’s Association (AISA) — the youth wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).
The talk was disrupted by members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) when CPI(ML) Politburo member Kavita Krishnan was delivering her address. She was also manhandled by ABVP workers.
“For his repeated indiscipline and for vitiating the atmosphere of the university, Sudhanshu Bajpai has been expelled from the university,” said LU Proctor Professor Manoj Dixit. “Despite the denial of permission, AISA went ahead with the lecture where a guest was humiliated. Then a few days later, in a separate incident, Sudhanshu burnt an effigy of the chief minister without notifying the administration,” he added.
ABVP leader Surya Pratap, who had allegedly misbehaved with AISA workers, has also been expelled. “Surya was involved in other cases as well,” Dixit said.
Bajpai, a first-year student of MA in Sociology, however, has been allowed to appear in the ongoing semester examinations.
Showing a letter permitting them to hold the talk titled — Who’s Afraid of Love? Love Azad vs lie of Love Jihad — on November 15, 1014, AISA activists said the permission was cancelled at the last moment under pressure from ABVP. They said they had also asked for security, which was denied.
“It is atrocious and shocking that a student has been penalised for holding a seminar inside a university. The administration is claiming that they never gave the permission while in reality, they withdrew it at the last moment,” Kavita Krishnan told The Indian Express.
She added: “Will ABVP now decide which seminars will be held in a university? The expulsion is an attack not just on students’ rights but also on womens’ rights, as the talk was on their freedom of choice.”
“It is a politically motivated move — the decision has come two months after the programme was organised and at a time when the Governor has directed universities to hold elections in August. Now, as per the guidelines of Lyngdoh Committee, I won’t be able to contest the elections,” Sudhansu Bajpai said.
In August, LU will witness elections after several years. “I had been filing RTIs regarding utilisation of various funds in the university and that has also irked the authorities,” Bajpai said.
Terming the move “utterly shameful,” AISA national president Sucheta De said: “We will protest in front of UP Bhawan in Delhi in a couple of days and also send a letter of protest to the UGC. We will protest in Lucknow as well. A university is supposed to defend the right of a student to speak, not expel him.”
In a video posted online, ABVP workers can be heard threatening AISA workers with “desh hai pukarta, pukarti hai Bharati; khoon se tilak karo, goliyon se aarti.”
LU Vice-Chancellor Dr S B Nimse, also president of Indian Science Congress Association, said he wasn’t aware of the developments. “I was in Mumbai for a month for the Science Congress, have just returned yesterday. I will look into the matter,” he added.