Students of the Department of Communication and Journalism of Savitribai Phule Pune University, along with various political groups in the city, staged a protest at the entrance of Ranade Institute on Tuesday to condemn the threat letter carrying a live detonator and an ‘explosive-like substance’, which was mailed in the name of the department’s head Madhavi Reddy. Wearing black ribbons, students and activists shouted slogans against the BJP government in the state and centre, demanding the arrest of those responsible for the act.
The threat letter warned the students and the institute administration against backing Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar. Journa-lism students of the institute had played a key role in inviting Kumar to Pune despite opposition by some right-wing groups. An offence was registered at Deccan police station and police have booked an unidentified person under section 286, 435, 511 and 507 of IPC and relevant sections of the explosives act.
Just two days prior to the act, a similar threat letter was received by the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). According to police, the packet containing a live detonator, a yellowish substance and a threat letter was delivered at the Ranade Institute on FC Road by the postman on Saturday afternoon—around the same time that FTII too received the package. Police suspect that the same person had posted both the letters.
Harshal Lohkare, a student of Ranade Institute, said, “We condemn the threat letter. We want the government to take this issue seriously and carry out proper investigation to identify and arrest the person who posted these letters to Ranade Institute and FTII. This is an attempt to create terror in educational institutes.”