This Article is From Mar 23, 2016

Fergusson College Lurches Into Anti-National Row With Confused Principal

The event at Fergusson College was organised by JNU student leaders of the ABVP, which is affiliated to the BJP


  • Principal files, withdraws complaint about anti-national slogans
  • Dalit organizations protest on campus
  • Politician's car attacked on campus with stones by student activists
Mumbai: Fergusson College has been annexed, thanks to its Principal, to the national controversy over what slogans count as  "anti-national"  and whether students should be punished by universities for making them.  The campus was tense today with aggressive demonstrations and a politician's car being attacked with stones.  

Last evening, RG Pardeshi, the principal of the famous college in Pune, wrote to the police, asking that students be identified and then penalized for anti-India remarks. 16 hours later, he cancelled his complaint, offering  "typographical errors" as an explanation. He has been summoned to Mumbai to explain his actions to the state government.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Pardeshi clarified that what he had meant to say was that the police should inquire if any students had shouted anti-national slogans.

But anger has flared up on campus. Today, representatives of Dalit organizations protested at the principal's office, reported news agency ANI. And during a visit to the college, the car windows of politician of Jitendra Awhad were targeted with stones by student activists.  

A verbal argument at last evening's event saw Dalit and Left students teaming up in a shouting match against the speakers, who belonged to the ABVP at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, where the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar and two other students on charges of sedition instigated a national debate on free speech.

At the Fergusson meeting, Left-leaning and Dalit students protested against the event, describing it as "illegal" and chanting azaadi (freedom) slogans. Upon his release from bail, Mr Kumar delivered a fiery speech in Delhi with repeated references to azaadi, associated in Kashmir with calls for independence from India. Mr Kumar said students like him want to fight for azaadi not from India, but from poverty, communalism, caste politics and other issues that divide India.