Scores of national and international delegates were denied entry into the inauguration ceremony of the World Hindi conference in Bhopal on Thursday. Deprived delegates staged a sit-in dharna, raising slogans to protest against denying their entry inside the ceremony after depositing a hefty delegation fee of Rs 5000.
The security personnel on duty, however, said that delegates had to reach the venue an hour before the function and despite that, they allowed many till 10 am, when they had to close the gates for security reasons as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was entering the venue. Delegates said they had no such information and had reached the venue even before the speeches started.
Dr Bhagwan Sharma, a Hindi scholar and former head of the Hindi department at St John's College, Agra, said that not only was he denied entry, but also the security staff misbehaved with him. "If they can't respect a Hindi scholar in the Hindi world conference, they should at least respect my age. I am an old man in my mid-seventies. But they just kept saying that their superiors have told not to allow anyone after 10 am," he said.
Dr Praveen Gupta, general secretary of Antarrashtriya Hindi Samiti, who had come from Delhi said, “We were not told that we have to reach an hour before the function started. When we reached here, the security guys at the gate didn't allow us to enter, saying that gates have been closed for all due security reasons, and only VIPs and organizers would be allowed. I have attended many conferences but have never witnessed such chaos and mismanagement.”
Fani Bushan Dass, a Hindi writer in his seventies, said that he had come from the United States for the conference. "They stopped me from entering into the inauguration ceremony as if I was a terrorist. I feel I have wasted my time for having come here, where I expected the presence of noted writers from across the country," he said.
Many mediapersons were also barred from entering the ceremony after 10 am.