Karnataka Varsity Cancels Kanhaiya’s Speech on ‘Orders’ From Govt
In a controversial decision, the Gulbarga University administration cancelled an address by former JNU Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar “based on oral orders” from the Karnataka government, just hours before the scheduled event on Tuesday, 15 October.
The issue of granting Kanhaiya permission to speak at the University had been contentious from the beginning. In fact, the permission for Kanhaiya’s speech was earlier withdrawn on Sunday following pressure from ABVP, Ram Sene and other right-wing groups.
But, it was given again on the next day after the university administration met with Left and Dalit student groups.
“Even the Syndicate decision to give permission to Kanhaiya’s programme was taken under pressure. Hundreds of students had gathered to pressurise the Syndicate members to give permission. After considering the possible disturbance of peace, and law and order in the campus, and the oral order from the Department of Higher Education, I withdrew the permission late in the evening on the same day,” The Hindu quoted Parimala Ambekar, Vice-Chancellor (Acting) of Gulbarga University, as saying.
Kanhaiya, who had recently contested the Lok Sabha elections unsuccessfully from Begusarai in Bihar, was set to speak at an event titled ‘Responsibility of Youth in Protecting Indian Constitution’ at Gulbarga University.
‘Misuse of Power’
Reacting to its cancellation, Kanhaiya said that this was “misuse of power”.
Meanwhile, influential Andola Mutt seer Siddalinga Swamiji reportedly called the cancellation of Kanhaiya’s address a victory for Hindus, and said that they wouldn’t let the university to turn into another JNU.
Speaking on the issue, Karnataka Deputy CM CN Ashwath Narayan, who also holds the higher education portfolio, said, “The university is not a place to discuss politics. These are places for learning.”
(This story was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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