The student body of Lady Shri Ram College for Women has expressed dissent over the decision of the college authorities to host the controversial BJP minister for its annual sports meet.
The Department of Physical Education, Lady Shri Ram College along with the National Sports Organisation (NSO) LSR organised its annual sports meet – the Dr. Bharat Ram Sports meet – from 20th to 22nd March 2023. Mr. Anurag Singh Thakur, the current Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports was welcomed as the chief guest for the inaugural ceremony on 20th March 2023. This move undertaken by the college authorities has not gone down well with the student body. The guest has been infamous for his controversial remarks amidst the anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Delhi in 2020. The student body is seeking clarification on why, after having claimed ‘apoliticism’ as a core principle, a right-wing politician was invited to campus by the college administration.
“It is supposed to be the responsibility of the department and its union to conduct thorough background checks on whoever is invited within college, which was apparently overlooked and disregarded this time.” – an anonymous final year student at LSR
Students are outraged at the ignorance of the college on separating the sportsperson from the politician for certain personal agendas. Questions are also being raised about the lack of transparency in the decision process and the obscurity of the invitation.
“Being an NSO student, I expect to have known about the decision prior to the rest of the student body. However, it is highly disappointing how we were just informed rather than being involved in the process.” – an anonymous NSO student, currently in their second year.
A General Body Meeting with the students, the unions and the staff advisors was called at 9 AM on Thursday, 23rd March to address the issue and seek further explanation. According to sources, staff advisors did not show up for the meeting and the dialogue proceeded solely between the NSO Union and the student body.
“Whatever has happened in the past cannot be undone. All we demand is an official letter of regret by the administration holding the college and its authorities accountable.” – attendees of the meeting.
Criticism has also been raised by certain students about how there is varying liberty across the departments within college when it comes to inviting guests and personalities .
“We have been trying since a long time to have certain poets and authors on campus but the restrictions that are imposed on us make the entire process unworkable.” – a second year student from the English department of LSR.
Organisations such as the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) LSR have been particularly critical of the college administration following this situation.
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Feature image credits: India Today