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Pune varsity cancels RSS lecture after Cong, NCP object

Pune varsity cancels RSS lecture after Cong, NCP object

Weeks after the state government intervened to compel the University of Mumbai to cancel training of its employees at a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-linked institution, Savitribai Phule Pune University, too, had to cancel a lecture by a top RSS functionary.

The decision was taken after the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) objected to the lecture, scheduled for Saturday, and asked the state’s higher education minister Uday Samant to take appropriate action. A few student organisations, too, had objected to the lecture.

After Samant directed his department to intervene in the matter, the university was directed to cancel the lecture. “Even before the Congress objected to the lecture, we decided to cancel it, taking the sentiments of students on the campus into consideration. We have issued a statement declaring so,” said Sanjay Tambat, coordinator of the communication and journalism department which had organised the lecture.

Savitribai Phule Pune University’s department of communication and journalism had organised a lecture, ‘Knowing RSS’, on the invitation of Vishwa Samvad Kendra at the RSS’ head office in Pune on Saturday. RSS’ All India Sampark Pramukh, Aniruddha Deshpande, was to deliver the lecture.

Balasaheb Thorat, chief of the state unit of the Congress, as well as NCP leader Supriya Sule expressed their objections to the lecture on social media on Friday. Calling it an attempt to inculcate RSS ideology in youngsters, Thorat, who is also the state’s revenue minister, said: “During the [Devendra] Fadnavis government, RSS had systematically recruited their men in educational institutes across the state. They are now attempting to spread their ideology in university, college and school campuses. I spoke to higher and technical minister Uday Samant and requested him to take appropriate action into it.”

Sule, too raised questions over the lecture. “Who gave the idea of conducting RSS lecture at the university? It was a deliberate attempt to include the lecture by issuing a notice by the communication and journalism department. Was the vice-chancellor aware about this?” she said.

The statement issued by the department stated: “Under the World View scheme, the department organises lectures for the students for the introduction of various institutions following different ideologies. The lecture on ‘Knowing RSS’ was part of the series. With the cancellation of the lecture, we also have decided to keep all the lectures in the future in the department itself.” Two weeks ago, MU had cancelled the two-day training of its employees at the RSS-linked Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini at Uttan, Bhayander.

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