Human rights activist and writer Harsh Mander was denied permission to give his talk at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai to mark the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh.
The cancellation of Mander’s talk at TISS comes day after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommended a CBI inquiry against Aman Biradari, an NGO established by Mander, for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
Progressive Students’ Forum, the event organizers, alleged that TISS administration imposed unwarranted restrictions for the Bhagat Singh Memorial Lecture (BSML) at an untimely post office hours just 1 day prior to the event.
“BSML is an event held in the campus premises annually for the remembrance of revolutionary figure Bhagat Singh to offer alternative perspectives to the Sangh appropriation of the legendary freedom fighter. It involves cultural events and an address by guest lecturers. For the fifth edition, renowned social activist and ex IAS officer Harsh Mander who has spearheaded campaigns such as Karwan-e – Mohabbat and Right to food and Aishe Ghosh, President of the JNU student’s union and political activist who came into prominence during the anti-CAA protest were set to join the gathering,” read the statement by PSF.
In response to the cancellation, students protested in front of the Director’s Bungalow on 21st and 22nd March. Following the protest, the administration gave permission to the left student body but denied permission to guest speakers or experts outside the varsity.
Delhi University professor and writer Apoorvanand commented on the incident, stating that “Indian democracy is at work”.
“Indian democracy at work: Harsh Mander told that he was not welcome in TISS, Bombay to give his talk to mark the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh. Before that NLU, Lucknow canceled his talk. CBI, ED, NCPCR have already initiated action against him,” read his tweet.
Days before, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University in Lucknow also cancelled Mander’s talk.