The ministry of human resources development, which oversees educational institutions in the country, today refused to intervene in political protests and incidents in colleges.
“These autonomous institutions are established under the respective Acts of Parliament and are competent to take action in the academic and administrative matters of the institutions, including student’s union activities, with the help of local authorities wherever necessary,” Mahendra Nath Pandey, junior minister in the ministry, told a group of five MPs who wanted to know what action the government was taking to “prevent disturbances” caused by political agitations in colleges today.
The members of parliament who raised the issue in parliament today included Prahlad Singh Patel, Chintamani Malviya and Ravindra Kumar Ray from the BJP, Sher Singh Ghubaya from the Akali Dal and Jitendra Chaudhury, a CPI-M MP from Tripura.
Calling the attention of the government, the MPs alleged that “educational institutions in Delhi and other parts of the country are becoming political arena which is affecting (the) education of students” and sought to know how the centre plans to prevent such “disturbances” in future.
The members of parliament were referring to clashes between students affiliated to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad — a student organization allied to the ruling BJP — and students belonging to Left leaning organizations such as those of All India Students Association.
Clashes took place in Delhi’s Ramjas College last month after a planned campus talk by Umar Khalid, a student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, at a literary event was disrupted by the ABVP.
The event called ‘Culture of Protests’ invited Khalid to speak on violence against Adivasis. However, ABVP — which had conducted protests against Khalid in Jawaharlal University for allegedly raising ‘anti national slogans’, said it would not allow the event to take place unless Khalid was disinvited.
“Khalid is a criminal charged for anti-national slogans who is out on bail. We didn’t want someone like him to come and speak,” Delhi University Students’ Union president Amit Tanwar said at the time.