Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh): After Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), IIT Madras and Jamia Milia Islamia canceled events on the campus hosting “controversial speakers”, the University of Allahabad also withdrew permission to hold an event to celebrate India’s constitution.
The day-long ‘Liberty Festival’ to discuss theatre, poetry and songs celebrating the idea of the constitution, was granted permission to be held in the senate hall by the Vice-Chancellor (VC) on September 13, who also agreed to be the chief guest. However, permission was withdrawn three days later.
Among the speakers were sociologist Prof Satish Deshpande, actor Maya Rao, singer Sonam Kalra, activist for women's rights Abha Bhaiyya and others. The university had not only granted permission to hold it in the Senate Hall but the VC himself was to be the chief guest.
Meanwhile, a malicious campaign was launched by ABVP and RSS workers, calling the guests anti-national, maligning them and calling the event a ruse to spread anti-national hatred.
However, in an open letter to the VC, joint action committee representative Manish Sharma said that they will continue to hold the event in the front lawns of the venue, knowing very well that they may be attacked by forces “intending to shut us down”.
Sharma, in his letter, states that they were also accused of trying to turn “Allahabad into another JNU” and of spreading hatred amongst students.
Sharma also said in his letter that the University administration is working under pressure.
"I am making this letter public without your permission as its contents concern not only the two of us but the students of the University of Allahabad and the youth of Allahabad and this country as well. They need to know the pressure that our university leaders like you are working under", Sharma said in his letter.
"As your good students we refuse to bow down in the face of this dull and pervasive feeling of fear.
"In this light, we will continue to hold our event on the decided date in the front lawns of the venue, knowing very well that we may be attacked by the organized forces that intend to shut us down. We do so as democracy and freedom is not a given or received thing. One has to be eternally vigilant and struggle daily to gain it", Sharma said.