It looks like ‘Seminar’ has become an evil term in Delhi University.After last weeks Ramjas College incident where Umar Khalid wasn’t allowed to participate in a panel discussion,a number of such panel discussions and seminars have been cancelled or postponed by Delhi University college authorities with Delhi College of Arts & Commerce and Law Faculty being the latest addition to this list.
Delhi College of Arts & Commerce (DCAC) was to host a Youth Conclave on 4th and 5th March 2017 while Law Faculty had organized a seminar on ‘Freedom of speech under Constitution of India’.The event at Law Faculty had to be cancelled because the permission wasn’t granted while the event at DCAC has been postponed to 25th-26th March 2017.
“The principal said that the current environment in Delhi University (DU) is not right and the local police station has advised him to postpone.There is no law and order problem here yet for the last three days the principal was uncomfortable with holding it now” said Dhruv Dhawan,President,DCAC Student Union and also the organizing committee head of Youth Conclave.
“DCAC Youth Conclave 2017 is a purely academic and non-political event to create awareness about “Rights of the youth and the Duties of the State.” Distinguished Speakers have been invited to deliver speeches and interact with Students on various themes concerning rights of the youth and duties of the State. We request and urge all conscious students of Delhi University to whole-heartedly support this event and benefit from it,”¬†he added.
The organizers of Law Faculty event claims that the permission wasn’t granted because the university had a problem with the speakers of the event.”Initially, the dean of the faculty,Vaid Kumari,had an issue with the list of speakers that included BJP‚Äôs Subramanian Swamy and Cabinet Minister Captain Abhimanyu. But she did not allow us to hold the seminar even after we changed the list‚Äù one of the organizing committee members said.
BJP Leader Subramanyam Swamy and Journalist Hartosh Bal will be participating in a debate titled “Journalism On Trial” at Delhi College of Arts & Commerce on 9th March 2017.
Yogendra Yadav in a tweet said “Another DU college chickens out!I was to speak on Meaning & Significance of Dissent at DCAC Youth Meet tomorrow.Just told its postponed!”
He went on to say ‘Have learnt that Subramanyam Swamy is speaking in the same college on “media on trial” on 9th.Restrictions only for those opposed to govt?” hinting at a biased treatment given to leaders who don’t support the ruling government.
A senior police official told Telegraph India “The police have no mandate to cancel college events. It is our job to call and find out if an event is happening or not. It is the college administration that has cancelled this in their wisdom. Precautionary police deployment is present.Cultural events are happening in colleges.”
On 24th February 2017,Theatre Society of SGTB Khalsa College had to call off their event after receiving alleged threats from Delhi University Students Union (DUSU).
On 1st March 2017,Sri Venkateswara College postponed all events scheduled for the month of March.
Similar incidents of cancellation and postponement of events were reported from other universities as well.On 23rd February 2017,Ambedkar University postponed an event organised to mark the anniversary of the Kunan Poshpora mass rape in Kashmir of 1991.
BJP leader Shazia Ilmi was recently not allowed to speak at Jamia Milia Islamia University on the issue of ‘Triple Talaq’.
These incidents have again raised the issue of intolerance and threat to free speech in campuses across India.