H K Arts College, of which Mevani is an alumnus, cancelled the event on Sunday after the trust governing the college refused to give the hall to hold the function following pressure from student leaders of BJP.
An Ahmedabad based college cancelled its annual festival program that was to be attended by Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani as chief guest. H K Arts College, of which Mevani is an alumnus, cancelled the event on Sunday after the trust governing the college refused to give the hall to hold the function following pressure from student leaders of BJP.
The event was scheduled to be held on Monday.
Speaking to The Indian Express, principal of H K Arts College, Hemant Kumar Shah said, “The annual festival of our college was to be celebrated tomorrow. We had invited Jignesh Mevani for the same 15-20 days back after he consented to be the Chief Guest. We wanted to invite him since he is a former student of the college. However, some student leaders who are from BJP, who did not like this and who are actively associated with Gujarat University gave threats to the Trust and to me saying that they will create ruckus at the function (since we invited Mevani) even if there is police.”
According to Shah, he and vice principal of the college Mohanbhai Parmar were determined to hold the function with Mevani as Chief Guest.
“We intimated the College trust about this (their determination to hold the programme)…But, the trustees told us that ‘considering the interest of the college and the trust and prevailing atmosphere, we will not allot you the hall.’ They told us that we should cancel this programme…I asked them to give it in writing and they have given me in writing that the trustees are clearly denying the hall for the programme,” Shah said.
Shah added that he was left with no option, but to cancel the function.
The principal called the incident “murder of democracy”. “Any person is free to voice his/her thoughts,” he said.
Mevani confirmed to The Indian Express that his invitation was held up by the trustees’ apprehensions. He labelled the behaviour of the college authorities a “display of spinelessness”.
Reacting to the development, Mevani said, “I take it as a compliment that they are afraid of me. It shows how much mental space I have occupied and how unnerved they get just by my presence. CM Vijay Rupani had come to my constituency and I was not bothered at all. This act shows how ABVP fears that I will continue my Modi-bashing and strike a chord with the students.”
He added, “I was going to raise the issue of unemployment. If trustees of HK want to reconsider, I am ready to come and take on ABVP goons. I think Modi should ask these unemployed youth of ABVP to take a leaf from his book ‘Karmayogi’ and seek spiritual bliss by doing safai kamdar’s work.”
However, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, said it had nothing to do with the incident. “We do not believe in such superficial politics. We have nothing to do with this,” Rutvij Patel, president of the youth wing, said.