New Delhi: Delhi University's decision to allow a seminar in the varsity by a VHP-affiliated organisation on Ram Janmabhoomi temple has drawn flak from students and teachers who termed it as an "attempt to vitiate and communalise the campus".
The university, however, has clarified that it has nothing to do with the subject of the seminar and the organisation had booked the venue for the event which is available to outsiders for hiring.
The two-day seminar titled "Shri Ram Janma Bhoomi Temple: Emerging Scenario" and beginning January 9 is being organised at DU's Arts Faculty by Arundhati Vashishtha Anusandhan Peeth (AVAP), a research organisation founded by late VHP leader Ashok Singhal.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is chairman of AVAP, is scheduled to deliver the inaugural address at the seminar which will see historians, archaeologists and law experts discussing various topics including "Lord Ram's character and values, and their impact on Indian culture", "History of the Ram temple and related archaeological findings", "Legal issues around Ram temple" and "Experience and future of Ram temple".
AVAP Convenor Chandra Prakash said the seminar is being organised to "make students aware of the verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya issue as many don't know the details".
Prakash maintained that the seminar is being independently organised by AVAP and DU has no role in it.
According to a senior DU official, "the seminar is not being organised by any of the DU departments. Anyone can book the venue through the office of the Assistant Registrar if there is availability".
Various student groups and teachers have opposed DU's decision to offer its campus for the non-academic event.
"The question is what have these kind of events to do with academic sphere. DU administration giving permission to organise it is an indication of letting the government push its saffron agenda in the field of education," said a statement by All India Students Association.
Students Federation of India said, "DU administration must withdraw the permission for the seminar as it is a clear attempt to vitiate and communalise the campus. We demand that the permission to conduct this programme be withdrawn."
Delhi University's Teachers Association (DUTA) said that events that are communal in nature should not get any space in educational institutions.
"A centrally-funded institution offering its platform for such an event speaks volumes about the agenda being pursued by the government as well as the administration," a DUTA statement said.