History Congress calls Pune University’s bluff
Seemingly under pressure from the BJP Government in Maharashtra and the Local Intelligence Unit, Pune University goes back on its offer to host the Indian History Congress
In an unprecedented move, Indian History Congress, set up in Pune, has contradicted claims made by the Vice Chancellor and Registrar of Savitribai Phule Pune University while ‘postponing’ the 79th session of the Congress, which was to be hosted by Pune later this month.
Pune University has denied media reports that concerns voiced by the state government, the right-wing and the police, which apprehended the Elgaar Parishad fiasco last year which allegedly led to violence at Bhima-Koregaon to repeat itself.
In a statement released on Monday, the Secretary of Indian History Congress Professor Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan maintained:
1. Pune University Vice Chancellor N.R. Karmalkar had extended the invitation in December 2017 and had nominated Prof Radhika Seshan as the local secretary.
2. Prof Seshan called upon IHC delegates to submit a delegate fee of ₹2000 each, the highest so far, in a circular issued three months ago.
3. Pune University and the local secretary continued to receive the delegate fee till the first week of December 2018 and hence the PU’s claim that it had informed IHC of the postponement three months ago is ‘baseless’.
Pointing out contradictory statements made by the host university, IHC said that while Professor Seshan maintains that ₹75 lakhs had been collected, the University Registrar has told the media that only ₹14 lakhs had been collected from all sources and that fund crunch was responsible for the postponement
“The statement attributed to the Vice Chancellor of the Savitribai Phule Pune University in a section of the press to the effect that the University had conveyed its decision to postpone the session three months earlier, that is early in September, is entirely baseless,” says the statement, which goes on to assert that the information was conveyed only in the second week of December, barely a fortnight before the annual conference.
Pointing out contradictory statements made by the host university, IHC said that while Professor Seshan maintains that ₹75 lakhs had been collected, the University Registrar has told the media that only ₹14 lakhs had been collected from all sources and that fund crunch was responsible for the postponement.
The statement also said that the highest number of delegates attending the conference has never exceeded 1,500 and, therefore, the Registrar’s claim that 3000 delegates were expected was not correct. The statement wonders why the Pune University had not made any booking for accommodation till now while the bookings are done months in advance.
The sudden and arbitrary decision, the statement points out, has disrupted travel plans made by delegates months in advance and has also led to financial losses due to cancellation of rail/air tickets and private accommodation.
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- Indian History Congress
- Pune University
- Savitribai Phule Pune University
- Elgaar Parishad
- Local Intelligence Unit