Activist Seema Azad went incognito to a seminar on fascism organised by students of Panjab University on Friday, after members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad threatened to disrupt the event. The ABVP had told the event’s organisers, the Students for Society, that the would “bring out their swords and lathis” if the event was held as planned, The Times of India reported.
The university authorities had asked the students not to hold the event, but they did so anyway outside of the varsity’s main buildings. Azad, who was dressed in a turban and kurta, was introduced as a student called Kriti from the Haryana-based Nari Mukti Manch. ”Fascist forces in the country are increasing and it is the responsibility of the students to fight against these by taking along other sections of the society,” she said. A member of Students for Society told The Indian Express that Azad had stayed on campus all day but “kept shifting locations”.
It appeared that members of the ABVP, who had kept a vigil outside the venue, did not realise she had attended it. However, ABVP state president Sourabh Kapoor was later quoted as saying, “She entered the campus like a thief. If she was such a nationalist, she should have faced authorities instead of disguising as a Sikh woman.”
The police, who had sent dozens of personnel to the university before the event, said they did not see her there.
The ABVP has been at the Centre of a series of disruptions at university events in North India. On February 22, it clashed with members of the All India Students Association at Delhi University’s Ramjas College for a seminar while opposing a seminar that was being organised there. Several police officers, journalists and students were injured in the fracas. The ABVP had raised issue with Jawaharlal Nehru University Umar Khalid speaking at the Ramjas event.