Agencies: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is all set to organise a programme on the University of Lucknow (LU) campus, to usher in the Hindu New Year on March 24.The event has already generated controversy with left wing student outfits, including the All India Students’ Association (AISA), accusing varsity authorities of ‘saffronising the campus’.
“It is worth mentioning that the same administration denied permission to some students who wanted to conduct a talk on the union budget. But now, it has allowed its auditorium to be used for the RSS function,” said AISA district secretary Nitin Raj.
However, this is not the first ‘right wing event’ that the university has allowed on its campus. On January 28, the Akhil Bharatiya Samgra Vichar Manch organised a programme at LU in which Surya Kumar Shukla, a 1982 batch IPS officer, took pledge with others for “early construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya”.
“The video of this officer of UP cadre taking the pledge had stirred a row and became national news,” said Nitin Raj.
“We strongly condemn the administration’s decision to give permission to an organisation that has nothing to do with the university to organise their event here,” he said, adding that “such programmes” violated the ethos of campus life, which was meant to promote only academic activities.
LU spokesperson NK Pandey, however, defended the university’s stand, saying it was “not LU’s official function”. “Anybody can book the university’s auditorium and organise functions that don’t disturb the peaceful academic atmosphere on campus,” he said.
But AISA’s LU secretary Shivam Chaudhary rejected this explanation. He alleged that this step of the varsity administration was meant to “propagate the RSS agenda to saffronise education and implement its ideology”. “This has been done with the consent of vice chancellor SP Singh,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, said, “This same University of Lucknow had cancelled my scheduled programme on honour killings sometime back in 2015.”
“The hall had been booked in advance and some 300 students were waiting for me to address them. But at the last minute, under some pressure, LU cancelled the booking and did not allow the programme to take place,” she said, adding: “There is no harm if a student body like the ABVP is allowed to hold its event at LU. But why throw campus gates open to the RSS?”
Recently, LU was in the midst of another controversy when its B Com Applied Economics examination question paper tested students’ awareness on Modi government schemes such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ‘Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti’, ‘Startup India’ and ‘Digital India’. Then too, AISA had protested strongly.