Students of Ram Lal Anand College (RLAC) condemned guest speaker Balbir Punj regarding the statements made during his most recent address at the College’s seminar last Friday.
The students of RLAC have released a statement condemning Balbir Punj and the stances he took as a guest speaker during a seminar held on 17th January 2020. Punj, an ex-MP from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was present at the seminar as a guest speaker. According to the released statement, when questioned regarding CAA and NRC, he could not address it.
In a seminar about CAA/NRC, minority institutions namely, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), St. Stephens, and Section 15 of the Constitution were attacked. At the beginning of the seminar, Punj allegedly refused to accept the existence of CAA and then proceeded to justify the act. According to the students, Punj reduced the student movement to ‘dog-whistle politics’, made communal arguments rather than exploring other aspects of the act, quoted Jinnah and made remarks about the minorities of other countries without addressing the problem of minorities in India. He did not address the active concerns of the students and addressed India as being made to originally be a religious and not a secular state. In the seminar, Punj also explained the notion of secularism, that he denies being a part of the Preamble, he goes on mentioning Article 29 and 30 of the Indian constitution which gives special and cultural rights to the minority communities which makes India a secular and pluralist country. Punj attacked the minority communities of Christians and Muslims, questioning the minority provisions being given to these communities under the guise of secularism.
“CAA/NRC/NPR cannot be understood in isolation. When Amit Shah himself explains the chronology of CAA and NRC, we should not forget this is an open attempt to reduce India’s minority to second class citizens. We should not forget that when our economy is facing the biggest slowdown in 10 years, high rates of unemployment, privatization of institutions, attack on universities to suppress dissent, increase in inflation etc CAA/NRC/NPR is a sword to divert attention from real issues.
While Mr Balbir Punj quoted Jinnah and mentioned Pakistan several times, we would like to quote Gandhi to you “I could not associate myself with the contention that India should drive out all its Muslim population to Pakistan as the Muslims of Pakistan were driving out all non-Muslims. Two wrongs cannot make one right”, 19 September 1947,” the statement read.
Balbir was also unable to answer any of the questions posed to him by the students present at the seminar. “Balbir Punj made all possible communal statements which are really dangerous for an educational institution. He attacked the idea of an inclusive India. He tried to mold data and history in all possible ways. The talk was a failure and the worst part was when I questioned him about citizenship of LGBTQ community as most of them are not in good terms with family so, obviously can’t produce documents and talked about situation of LGBTQ Community inside the campus, he smiled and responded in really shameful and insensitive way,” Deshdeep Dhankar, a student from RLAC who was present at the seminar, told DU Beat.
While, Gulshan Kumar, President, Students’ Union, said, “On our request sir delivered and lecture for around an hour and every single student of our college heard him very patiently. We also took feedbacks from the students. But it’s sad to say that some of the students who were not even present wanted to disturb the lecture. When the students were allowed to ask questions few students who follow the left ideology tried to disturb the atmosphere of the auditoriumand tried to manipulate the students.”
He further added, the Union’s comment on the same, “RLASU condemns such kind of action. The poster and banners were also pasted on the wall by the passout students of the college and this is not at all acceptable. The union is for the the Student’s of RLA and we are always committed to work for them. But the students union will not at all entertain the interest of outsiders.”
The ex-MP had come to the institution for a talk in favour of the CAA and NRC. The students of RLAC have condemned the talk, and called it “shameful, a failure, and a blatant spread of lies.”
Feature Image Credit: Shiksha