The director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences has cautioned students and faculty members against getting “swayed by disruptive forces”. S Parasuraman’s email to the faculty and students of the institute follows violent clashes at Ramjas College over a cancelled seminar.
In the email, Parasuraman said he was aware of “disruptive persons within and outside the campus wanting to create trouble in the name of ideologies. Please be aware of them.”
Calling TISS a “secular institution”, the institute’s director said a “simple institution could not afford to get dragged into problems”, unlike “prominent institutions like Delhi University and Jawaharlal University”, which could. He also warned students against “getting trapped into activities that will compromise the institute’s ability to meet its responsibilities towards its student community, their parents and the nation.”
A TISS students’ body had condemned the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s role in the incident and announced its decision to participate in protests against the ABVP, DNA had reported. Students, including some associated with several organisations, participated in demonstrations and an online campaign against the ABVP.
The conflict at Ramjas College began on February 21, when a seminar had to be cancelled after members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad protested against the participation of Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid Shora. The talk was part of Ramjas College’s Literary Society and English department’s two-day seminar on “Cultures of Protest”. Stones were pelted at the conference room windows when organisers had tried to hold the seminar, though Khalid was not present.
Clashes broke out between members of the All India Students Association and ABVP at Ramjas College the following day when the students held a rally to protest against the seminar being cancelled. More than 20 students and several journalists were injured.