Ahmedabad-based H K Arts College, on Sunday, declared the cancellation of its annual festival programme that was to be attended by Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani as chief guest after the trust governing the college refused to give hall for the event following alleged pressure from some student leaders of BJP opposed to Mevani.
The function was scheduled to be held on Monday. It is to be noted that Mevani is an alumnus of HK Arts College.
Speaking to The Indian Express, principal of H K Arts College, Hemant Kumar Shah said, “The annual festival of our college was to be celebrated tomorrow. We had invited Jignesh Mevani for the same 15-20 days back after he consented to be the Chief Guest. We wanted to invite him since he is a former student of the college.” “However, some student leaders who are from BJP, who did not like this and who are actively associated with Gujarat University gave threats to the Trust and to me saying that they will create ruckus at the function (since we invited Mevani) even if there is police,” added Shah.
According to Shah, he and vice principal of the college – Mohanbhai Parmar – were determined to hold the function with Mevani as Chief Guest.
“We intimated the College trust about this (their determination to hold the programme)…But, the trustees told us that ‘considering the interest of the college & the trust and prevailing atmosphere, we will not allot you the hall.’ They told us that we should cancel this programme…I asked them to give it in writing and they have given me in writing that the trustees are clearly denying to allot the hall for the programme,” Shah said.
Shah added that he was left with no option, but to cancel the function.
“The function cannot be held in the courtyard of the college as 500-600 students are to be given medals, trophies, certificates etc. through the hands of the Chief Guest. Jignesh was ready to come for the function. But when the trust denies us to allot hall, what can we do?,” Shah said adding that they eventually decided to cancel the function without holding it by inviting some other person as a Chief Guest.
“I believe this is murder of democracy. Any person is free to voice his/her thoughts. But, the way trust has taken the decision, I am very disappointed. I am going to write to the trust in this regard,” Shah added.
When contacted, Mevani said, “I was ready to attend the function yesterday, and I am ready to attend it even now. However, the trustees of the college have withdrawn themselves.” Mevani termed the action of the HK Arts college authorities as, ‘display of spinelessness.’
According to Shah, the Trust of the college – Brahmachari Vadi Trust – has personalities like renowned architect B V Doshi and noted literary figures Raghuveer Chaudhari and Kumarpal Desai as trustees. Doshi and Desai are Padma awardees whereas, Chaudhari is recipient of Jnanpith Award.
Secretary of the Trust, Amrish Shah could not be reached over the issue despite repeated attempts. Meanwhile, BJP’s youth wing has refuted its alleged association with the controversy.
Rutvij Patel, president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Gujarat – the youth wing of BJP, said, “We do not believe in such superficial politics. We have nothing to do with this.”