A day after controversy erupted over the postponement of the annual conference of the Indian History Congress (IHC), to be hosted by Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) this month, university authorities Thursday denied they were under political pressure against hosting the event.
The IHC has had an uncomfortable past with the NDA government due to some of its resolutions, therefore, when SPPU announced that it would be unable to host the 79th session of the IHC as scheduled at the end of this month, accusations flew fast that it was due to political pressure, forcing university officials to host a press conference on Thursday.
SPPU Vice-Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar told The Indian Express that the university was not under any political pressure. “The department could not organise adequate funding and accommodation for the delegates, which is why they requested that the event be postponed, and not cancelled. Even I was quite disappointed by this situation and made it known to the department. There is no question of political pressure,” he said.
He added, “There have been suggestions from some quarters that we raised questions about law and order issues, but that is not true. The university organises several conferences, we have 52 departments who keep doing such events, and no law and order situation has ever arisen.”
He also said the decision to postpone the event was taken at least three months ago, and not at the last minute.
While IHC representatives couldn’t be reached on Thursday, a statement put on their website indicates that they may have considered moving the session to another venue. The statement by Professor Mahalakshmi Ramakrishna criticises SPPU for its “unilateral decision” and that they have written to the V-C expressing their deep anguish at the decision and asked him to ensure the delegate fees are returned.