Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan on Wednesday said Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) cancelled an invite extended to him to speak at an interactive session on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, after several students objected to it.
Terming it an “attack on free speech”, Paswan said the move was a sign of “institutionalisation of cancel culture” in the country.
Paswan said he was to speak at the session titled “Ambedkar beyond the Constitution”, organised by the SC/ST cell of LSR on the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti on Thursday.
“I got a call from the host student on Tuesday who said there was some confusion and they might have to call off the event. This morning, I was told that it has been cancelled,” said Paswan.
The BJP spokesperson said he had prepared a presentation on the contributions of “Ambedkar beyond the drafting of the Constitution, his role as an economist, diplomat and an educationist”.
“Can the subaltern speak? Not at one of the premier institutions of the country, Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi,” Paswan said in a statement on Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday evening. “…the event has been cancelled at the behest of my political affiliation and my role as national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, “ he said.
A written message from the SC/ST cell to Paswan said the event was cancelled, even though there has been no such direction from the college administration.
“…But there was a huge outcry from the student body stating their disagreement with this talk. This is a reaction based on a mix of recent developments in Karnataka and JNU,” the message said.
A student member of the SC/ST cell said several students objected to the event and shared mails/messages outlining their concerns.
The LSR principal could not be reached for comment.