The Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU) , Nagpur has postponed indefinitely a seminar where the CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury was to be the chief guest. The seminar on ‘Erosion of Indian Democracy: Challenges and Solutions’ on March 18 and 19 was organised by the ‘Post-graduate Department of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Thought’ of the varsity.
However, Vice Chancellor Dr S P Kane postponed it indefinitely on Wednesday.
The seminar was postponed due to “unavoidable circumstances”, Dr Kane told reporters, but he refused to elaborate.
The decision of Vice Chancellor has attracted criticism from the organisers and writers based in Nagpur who claimed that the V-C was forced to do so due to pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
A delegation of Ambedkarite activists led by former state minister and Congress leader Nitin Raut met the Vice Chancellor over the issue on Wednesday. Raut told media that the VC assured that the seminar will held at a later date with Yechury as the chief guest.
“We met the V-C and he told us that the programme has to be cancelled because of some unavoidable reasons. When I asked him about the reasons, he said some organisations called him and threatened to protest if Yechury speaks in the university. He did not name the organisation but it is clear that it was the ABVP,” Pradip Aglawe, head of Nagpur University’s Ambedkar Thoughts department, told The Hindu. Senior Congress leader Nitin Raut asked him “not to act under pressure.”
The V-C was under tremendous pressure when we met him. He was not in a position to explain us. He said there would be law and order issues if Mr. Yechury is invited. It was clearly the pressure from the ABVP. The V-C said he got calls asking him to not to go ahead with the programme. Yechury is not a terrorist or a traitor. He has been working as a parliamentarian for over 25 years now. He is known as an intellectual and to oppose his speech is absolutely unfair.”Nitin Raut, Congress Leader
But V C denied the allegeation and said the programme has not been cancelled “The programme has not been cancelled. It has been postponed for some administrative purposes. I would not like to speak more on this issue.” ABVP also denied any role in postponement in the seminar.