Parimala Ambekar, the acting vice chancellor of Gulbarga University on Tuesday said that she had cancelled the earlier permission given for a programme that featured a speech by former student activist, Kanhaiya Kumar in Kalaburagi, about 650 kms from Bengaluru.
Speaking to media reporters in Kalaburagi on Tuesday, she said that her decision to withdraw permission was based on security concerns.
“Looking at the law and order situation, I took the call to withdraw the permission given to the programme," Ambekar said on Tuesday.
She said that the university syndicate had earlier given permission due to pressure from the students. “Since there was pressure we wanted to give conditional permission so that the platform is not misused," she said, adding that the conditions include restricting Kumar to talking only on Dr. B.R.Ambedkar and not digress into other topics.
Kumar was invited to address students on responsibility of youth in protecting the Indian constitution, organised by the Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Study Chair of the Gulbarga University, according to a report in The Hindu on Tuesday.
The decision of the Ambekar raising a storm in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state.
Local BJP workers said that they had objected to earlier permissions given by the university to host Kumar--a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP and other right wing organisations.
Kumar later told reporters that permission was denied due to pressure from the BJP. “This is a misuse of power and public institutions to suppress dissent. I don’t know why Modi is hell-bent to create such problems," The Hindu reported, quoting Kumar.
Senior police officials said that the decision to deny permission was solely that of the university.
However, Kumar was able to make his speech at another programme in the same city on Tuesday. “He (Kumar) did deliver his speech in Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Degree College. The two hour programme concluded at around 6.30 pm," said a senior police official, requesting not to be named.
“Why do BJP Govts across the country get rattled whenever anyone speaks about the constitution? They don’t want anyone else’s voice to be heard, but that of RSS & their supreme leader," Priyank Kharge, former Karnataka minister and Congress legislator from Chittapur in Kalaburagi posted on Twitter.
Kumar, the former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), was slapped with sedition charges for a speech he gave in 2016 marking the third anniversary of terror convict Afzal Guru’s hanging.
He unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Begusarai in Bihar.