Bhubaneshwar: Tensions were high at Utkal University on Sunday following a seminar, as the organisers engaged in a fight with a section of the audience who had objected to a speech made at the programme, according to the institute's officials. Both sides lodged separate complaints at Shaheed Nagar Police Station, shortly after the brawl. Confirming that two complaints have been made, a local police officer said the matter was being investigated.
Problem arose when a speech by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Surajit Majumdar was disapproved of by some students, who allegedly bore affiliation to a political party, and the seminar, organised by Odisha-based Citizen Forum, had to be stopped midway. According to the officials at the university, some members of the audience, mostly students, openly objected to Majumdar’s speech, which led to a verbal duel between them and the convener of Citizen Forum, Pradeepta Nayak. Besides hurling abuses, the students also allegedly physically assaulted them, they said.
"The disturbance started when JNU professor Surajit Majumdar was delivering his speech. He wasn’t speaking against anyone, not even against the government. But some students created a ruckus," said Nayak. He alleged that the group of protesters comprised some outsiders. One of the protesters, however, said that Majumdar, in his speech, had allegedly said "upper castes are ruling the nation and we should oppose them", something that they did not agree with. "We opposed his statement and the organisers then attacked us. We stopped the programme as we don’t want the campus to be misused by certain people," he said.
Meanwhile, some students, in the aftermath of the scuffle, launched a dharna at the university's main gate, demanding action against people who caused tension on the campus.
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