New Delhi: Students associated with the University Grants Commission (UGC)-mandated North East cell of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) expressed their shock after the college administration issued a note informing them that an event on the Citizenship Amendment Act had to be cancelled due to “unavoidable circumstances”.
The event, titled 'Why is the Northeast Protesting', had speakers like the editor-in-chief of North East Today’s Padyot Manikya, The Wire’s deputy editor Sangeet Barooah Pisharoty, research scholar, trade unionist and activist from Assam Nayan Jyoti, independent researcher Leki Thungon and Delhi University Prof Amrapali Basumatary. It was scheduled to be held on Thursday.
The organisers issued a statement saying the programme was cancelled only a few hours before it was scheduled to be held. “In an emergency meeting held merely hours before the event, the administration and the principal informed us that the event is cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances,” the statement read.
“We were told that they received information about the possibility of violence on campus if the event was to take place. We were also told that there was no balance in our panel and all our speakers had the ‘same bent of mind’,” it further said.
The administration reportedly suggested to the organisers that this event can be conducted at a later date. “(We were told) it was unwise to have the event in this climate. We insisted that this was not a politically motivated event and that it was conducted because there exists a complete lack of awareness about the northeast’s protests in the college,” added the statement.
A student associated with the group told News18, “This discussion was the need of the hour which garnered immense support and we were expecting a large number of students all from over the campus.”
Gajendra Chaudhury, a member of the politically neutral SRCC students union, said, "We checked the background of the speakers and found that they were all from one ideology — Left. So we requested the administration to cancel the event. Also, they had not routed the event through the students union."
Students of the NE cell are extremely disheartened and feel the eminent individuals who were supposed to speak at the event were disrespected.
“We are appalled by the message circulated by the students union that claims that our event would ‘indulge in violence and spread misleading information among students.’ This was extremely disrespectful towards our speakers, two of whom are professors of this very university,” a student said.
“Our speakers have years of experience and research to back any statement they make, but the union blatantly attacked their credibility,” said the statement. The students said the administration has informed the speakers that “the event is cancelled due to a technical issue.”
SRCC principal Simrit Kaur is yet to respond to News18’s queries. The story will be updated as and when Kaur replies.