Denial of lecture leads to row at Fergusson College

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Ex-HC judge BG Kolse Patil was to deliver a lecture that was cancelled last minute

Pune: A last-minute denial of permission to hold a lecture at Fergusson College by former Bombay High Court Judge BG Kolse Patil created an uproar among the students on Monday morning.

The lecture was earlier planned to be held in the Fergusson College Amphitheatre from 12 noon to 3 pm on Monday.  Kolse Patil later spoke near the Main Circle in the college premises, despite opposition from some student associations. He spoke about the Constitution of India.

“For the past two months, we have been preparing for the lecture. We had all the due permissions from the college office. We had also sent an invite to Kolse Patil through the Principal. However, on Saturday evening, the officials of Deccan Education Society (DES) told us that the Society’s permission was also necessary for conducting such lectures. They took down our posters and refused to allow the event to take place in the amphitheatre,” Vishal Dabhade, one of the students who had organised the lecture, said.

The lecture was part of the Yuvajagar lecture series organised by the students to commemorate the birth anniversaries of Rajmata Jijau and Swami Vivekananda. “Despite all the confusion, we are happy that the lecture took place with police bandobast, and was attended by a large number of students. Although some student organisations tried to oppose it by shouting slogans in the campus, the event was still a success. However, we are very disappointed with the college. After the DES officials denied us the permission, we did not receive any sort of communication either from the College or the Principal,” Dabhade added.

As part of the same lecture series, the students have also organised a lecture by orator Amol Mitkari. Dabhade said, “We have been seeking permission for that as well. However, we have decided that no matter what, the lecture will take place for sure.”

DES president’s statement
In a statement in their defence, Dr Sharad Kunte, President, governing body of DES, said that the area around the main building of Fergusson College, along with the amphitheatre, is currently sub judice. Hence, there are some restrictions pertaining to organising events in this area. “We had notified the student organisers of the same, and had also offered them other rooms and auditoriums in the college that do not have any such restrictions. However, they did not respond to this. Kolse Patil was going to speak on a very important subject, and we all have great respect for the Constitution, as well as for the former judge. I was even ready to be present for the event, but did not get any response from the students.”

Student representative responds
Dabhade said, “This is an attempt by the management to cover up the issue. If that was the case, how would we get permission to hold the event there in the first place? And anyway, there are so many other events that are organised in the amphitheatre and the surrounding areas all the time.”

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