MUMBAI: A day after the face-off between students of right and left ideologies at Pune’s prestigious Fergusson College, workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and the NCP clashed on Wednesday over the college principal’s “defamatory” letter to police.
Principal Ravindrasinh Pardeshi on Wednesday morning wrote a letter to police stating that they should take action against students who had raised “anti-national” slogans on Tuesday.
Left-leaning students took objection to the wording of the letter and created ruckus at Pardeshi’s office, damaging furniture in the process. Pardeshi later clarified that there was a “printing mistake” in the letter. “We wanted to say that the police should take action if any anti-national slogans were raised. We didn’t conclude that anti-national slogans were raised,” he said.
The situation worsened after NCP legislator from Mumbra, near the city, Jitendra Awhad arrived on the campus to support these students. He alleged Pardeshi was working at the behest of “someone else”. Calling Pardeshi by his name, Awhad said, “He is a casteist person. He should be removed immediately. I think the time has come to bring Kanhaiya Kumar to Fergusson College.”
In retaliation, BJYM workers manhandled Awhad and tried to attack his car. BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari held Awhad responsible for the situation. “He had gone there to disturb the law and order situation. We will demand the Chief Minister take stern action against him. It is obvious that our workers got angry when they saw Awhad politicising the issue,” Bhandari said.The students’ groups had faced off against each other on Tuesday for almost two hours.
Students, claiming to be followers of Dr B R Ambedkar, had taken objection to ABVP leader Alok Singh’s “unauthorised” speech on the campus. Singh, president of the ABVP JNU unit, visited the campus to explain to the students his version of the events that had led to the arrests of Kanhaiya, Omar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya. Police intervened and drove the students out.
Meanwhile, BJP veteran L K Advani refused to comment on the Bharat Mata row.
“This is a meaningless controversy,” he said in Ahmedabad.