College principal had merely warned of the threat and not told her not to attend.
Dalit singer and activist Sheetal Sathe has denied media reports that Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College withdrew an invitation to her to attend its annual festival under pressure from Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Sathe sent a statement on Thursday clarifying that she stayed away only because she did not want to jeopardize the Aug. 14-17 college festival, the Hindu newspaper reported.
She was initially invited to be part of a panel discussion called “Invisibility of Caste” during the festival but the BJP’s student wing opposed the move saying she is under police watch for anti-national activities.
Sathe’s statement said the college principal, Father Frazer Mascarenhas, had merely warned her of the threat and not told her not to attend.
ABVP protest began days before the festival saying Sathe is part of Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), which supports anti-national activities such as backing naxal (Maoist) ideology.
Sathe was arrested in April 2013 on charges of supporting naxal activities. She was released on bail two months later.
“The only reason she is not on stage is not out of fear but out of deep appreciation for the courage and integrity of St. Xavier’s College,” said documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan, on her behalf, according to the Hindu report.
Several leading social activists have decried the ABVP protest.
The moderator of the panel discussion, S. Anand, founder of the Navayana publishing house, said preventing Sathe from attending the event was a collective shame.
Kancha Ilaiah, former head of political science at Osmania University, said the increase in communal atrocities by the organizations affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no control over them.
Source: The Hindu
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