RJD's Manoj Jha says 2 DU colleges cancelled invites for programme on 'freedom of expression, democracy'

The RJD's Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha has said two DU colleges cancelled their invites to him for programmes "related to freedom of expression and democracy", citing a "change" in the nature of event

RJD leader Manoj Jha (IANS Photo-File)
RJD leader Manoj Jha (IANS Photo-File)


The RJD's Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha has said two Delhi University (DU) colleges cancelled their invites to him for programmes "related to freedom of expression and democracy", citing a "change" in the nature of event.

The cancellation comes a few days after DU's Lady Shri Ram College withdrew an invitation to BJP national spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan following opposition from a section of students.

Jha, who is also a professor in DU, tweeted about his invites being withdrawn, without naming the two colleges.

"Sharing something which made me uncomfortable about the 'state of affairs' in my own University. I was invited to speak by two colleges. However, day before I was 'informed' that the 'nature' of the events have changed and hence invitation withdrawn. No Regrets..Just Worried..." he said in a tweet on Thursday.

Both the events were scheduled to start from Friday.

When contacted, Jha told PTI Friday he teaches in the university and does not want students to pick up fight among themselves whether they are from the Left, Right or unaffiliated.

"I take regular classes in my university even during Parliament sessions. How can my voice be a threat for those colleges when it is not a threat in Parliament?" he questioned.

He stressed on the importance of maintaining congenial dialogues between opposing viewpoints. "I believe that the larger idea is we are losing the plot. Particularly in a democracy, in colleges and varsities, there should be a congenial dialogue whether I come from the Left or Right.

"The colleges said that the nature of programme has changed. However, I received emails from students saying that they (the colleges) are lying and they just didn't want you and a couple of other speakers. This was a programme related to Freedom of Expression and democracy and related things. It was a mixed panel of speakers," he added.

When asked about the LSR episode, he said, "We should understand we are fast becoming a Republic which is closing its eyes and ears to any view which is kind of different from yours."

"India has evolved and come to 2022 since 1947 unlike some of our neighbours because in our democracy windows and doors were not closed. We were open to ideas. Now if 75 years later, we are trying to undo what we achieved in last 75 years, I think God bless my country, he said.

Referring to the recent JNU violence and events following that, he said they are "a part of larger pattern and the larger pattern is throttling the very gas pipeline of democracy and closing it down permanently".

The Hindu Sena has put up posters and saffron flags near the main gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and surrounding areas almost a week after the clash between ABVP and JNUSU members in a hostel over allegedly serving non-vegetarian food on Ram Navami.

"All these incidents are not isolated. I won't call it an ideological battle. They have acquired a pattern and that pattern is not in sync with India's pattern, the idea of India," he said.

Jha also hit out the government over such incidents, saying they "help the government because people will not ask questions on jobs, inflation".

"The government is very comfortable. We are fighting over loudspeakers, food, different forms of worship. There should have been a fight over all-time high unemployment, he said.

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