Sunday, December 3, 2023

Students disheartened as Aligarh University admin abruptly cancels literary fest

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The administration of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has abruptly cancelled the third day event of Literary Festival 2022 being held in the campus officially without giving reasons behind the decision.

The festival was held at Kennedy auditorium by the University Debating and Literary Club (UDLC) on 20, 21 and 22 May.

“From the day one, we were pressured to cancel the event,” said a member of UDLC, who refused to reveal his identity.

‘On the second day, we were denied permission to hold the event but we did it after negotiating with the administration. On the 3rd day, our auditorium was locked down. We tried to reach out to the admin but failed. So far, they have not given any satisfactory reason for this,” the student told Maktoob.

Informing about the cancellation of the event, Sajid Bukhari, another member of the UDLC, tweeted “With a heavy heart I bring you this news, AMU Literary Festival 6.O is once again cancelled by University admin. We weren’t informed in writing, the venue has been made inaccessible, books stalls were removed at 2 am. Seeing shrinking of university spaces for discussion is painful!”

On the third day of the event which so far stands cancelled, there were panel discussions and lectures on “minority rights”, “ethics of dissent”, “writing amidst lawlessness”, “rise and fall of modern journalism.”

The UDLC member said that the administration claimed that there will be a law and order issue due to the event. But he thinks that the topics or speakers could be the reason behind cancelling the event.

“We feel that there are topics of discussion which are not falling in line with the government and the administration. They are citing law and order issues to hide their real motives,” he pointed out.

UDLC comes under the Cultural Education Centre (CEC) of the University. The message of postponing the fest was first declared by the CEC.

CEC convener Professor F S Sherani told Maktoob that the fest has been cancelled due to overcrowding of students in the auditorium which is not able to house 3000-5000 persons at a time. He also blamed the glitches in the AC and the power cuts for not allowing the literary fest to continue on the third day.

“Earlier, the fest used to be held in the open. This is the first time it is being held in the auditorium. Now, the fest cannot be held in the open due to the scorching heat. Due to these reasons, the fest will not be held on the 3rd day,” he claimed.

He also denied that it’s being cancelled due to any kind of pressure.

However, the UDLC member said that these are excuses to cancel the event.

“We removed the cultural programs from the schedule to avoid huge gatherings… These are excuses to cancel the fest,“ he said.

He pointed out that on the first day of the fest, people in large numbers attended the event during cultural programs. On the second day, there was a gathering of 200 people.

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Waquar Hasan
Waquar Hasan
Waquar Hasan is freelance journalist based in New Delhi.

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