Ex-judge’s lecture cancelled, Fergusson College yields to pressure from right wing

FPJ BureauUpdated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 03:12 AM IST
article-image

Pune: A big controversy has erupted over Fergusson College cancelling a lecture by retired judge Justice BG Kolse-Patil on Monday morning. The college authorities have refused to divulge the reason for suddenly withdrawing the invitation.According to police sources, the Hindu right-wing Patit Pavan Sanghatana and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad had opposed this lecture.

They have alleged that Kolse-Patil was part of the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, at which the invitees were accused of trying to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government with their speeches. At Fergusson College, Kolse-Patil was scheduled to speak on ‘Constitution from 1950-2018’. The principal of Fergusson College, Ravindra Singh Pardeshi, had sent him a written invitation one month ago.

I take great pleasure in inviting you [Justice (retd.) Kolse-Patil] to deliver the lecture on the ‘Constitution: 1950-2018’ and guide students of Fergusson College,” reads Dr Pardeshi’s invitation letter (in Marathi) to Kolse-Patil. “I had no official intimation from Fergusson College that my lecture had been cancelled… the present atmosphere is such that when reactionaries are invited for lectures in colleges, they are eagerly welcomed, but the ruling powers [read BJP] immediately clamp down on people with secular ideals critical of the government,” Kolse-Patil said. He further said he had never faced similar trouble and had successfully given lectures in Fergusson College in the past.

Students’ groups protested and shouted slogans at the gate of the college, after they were informed of cancellation of the lecture. Dr Sharad Kunte, president, governing body of DES, which runs the 134-year-old college, said the right to grant permission rests with DES and not with the college principal. DES had given permission for the lecture. “There appears to be some miscommunication between DES and the college principal regarding sanction for the event,” Dr Kunte told the agitating students.

Later, Kolse-Patil, along with other speakers, addressed the students on the premises of the college. In his brief address, he hit out at PM Narendra Modi’s dictatorial style of functioning, stating that the Modi-Shah duo were expanding their “Gujarat laboratory of baneful communal experiments” to other parts of the country. “Today, judges who keep a photo of former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief MS Golwalkar are elevated as chief justices.

Institutional appointments are made solely on the basis of one’s affinity with the Sangh or BJP,” alleged Kolse-Patil. There was a tense situation after his brief address. The Pune Police have suddenly become vigilant about lectures and events in the city. A year after the Bhima-Koregaon violence in January 2018, they have begun taking action against activists and speakers perceived to be ‘urban Naxals’.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Daily Horoscope for Friday, August 19, 2022, for all zodiac signs by astrologer Vinayak Vishwas...

Daily Horoscope for Friday, August 19, 2022, for all zodiac signs by astrologer Vinayak Vishwas...

Raigad gun scare: AK 47, ammo found on boat; Maharashtra on high alert

Raigad gun scare: AK 47, ammo found on boat; Maharashtra on high alert

Borivli flyover potholes: BMC, MSRDC pass blame

Borivli flyover potholes: BMC, MSRDC pass blame

No blanket relief for victims of false criminal cases: Supreme Court

No blanket relief for victims of false criminal cases: Supreme Court

SC orders status quo, says Delhi HC-appointed CoA will not take charge of IOA

SC orders status quo, says Delhi HC-appointed CoA will not take charge of IOA