Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday said the students of St. Stephen's College, who walked out of their classes to show solidarity with the students of JNU, have reignited the "historic tradition" of the college.
The college students boycotted classes on Wednesday in solidarity with JNU students, who faced violence on the university campus, and in protest against the amended citizenship law.
Addressing a gathering at the launch of the college's Centre for Advance Learning and the flagship Public Policy and International Relations programme, Mr Tharoor said one must not forget that Mahatma Gandhi had given the call for the non-cooperation movement from the campus of St. Stephen's College.
Hitting out at the central government, the Congress leader, who is also an alumnus of the college, said it was unfortunate that the ruling dispensation saw protests as "a threat".
Recalling his college days, Mr Tharoor said when he was the president of the students' union there was Jai Prakash Narayan-led movement in the 1970s, which culminated in what became the Emergency in the following years.
"A number of my fellow students asked me if we could participate (in the JP movement). I told them that we are non-political union and it would not be right for us as a union to participate as we did not belong to Delhi University Students'' Union," he said.
He said he, however, asked his fellow students he would not stand in the way of any individual member going to participate in rallies, but not on behalf of the college students' union.
If any individual student decides to participate in protests, he or she can go, and if he or she stays back, he or she can do so, the Lok Sabha MP said.
"Ultimate idea is have principles, have values, but do within the framework of what is possible... I think in many ways those who did walk out for march and protests reignited the historic tradition of the college..." he said.
The Congress leader alleged that the ruling dispensation has chosen to try to intimidate and clamp down via police in JNU "shamefully through thugs, proxies such as ABVP".
At the event attended by the college's supreme council chairman Warris K Masih, principal John Varghese and others, the "Chair in Public Policy" was established in the college.
Mr Varghese said the college has brilliant alumni.