After several weeks of fighting for freedom of expression, Devansh Mehta— founder of St. Stephen’s College banned weekly e-zine — on Saturday received his graduation certificate from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal amid standing ovation and cheer.
Mehta, who has become the star of the college for a few days now, would have almost missed receiving the certificate from Kejriwal as the principal announced midway through the function that the CM had to leave early.
Students requested the CM to stay. Kejriwal readily agreed and left a few minutes after Mehta received the award.
The College Hall burst into loud applauses and cheer as Mehta, the 21-year-old philosophy student who challenged the principal in court, climbed the stage to receive his certificate.
However, as per the court order, the Raj Sahib Banarsi Das Choudhrie prize for which Devansh was nominated prior to the suspension was not awarded to him.
Addressing the graduating students of the college -- which has several alumni as bureaucrats -- Kejriwal said, “The attitude of the bureaucracy has to change. There are good people in bureaucracy but some are arrogant and their attitude is not positive. We are bringing accountability in governance. Good officers would be rewarded with incentives and the corrupt ones will be punished.”
Taking about his own convocation at IIT, he told the students to not stress out about career and instead enjoy life.
“I always enjoyed life. Career kept going on, I moved from being an engineer to a civil servant to an activist. All of you have to make your careers, make it but don’t forget democracy. Participate in it, it is very important,” said Kejriwal as students clapped.
He invited the graduating students to devote a year to work for Delhi with the state government.
Though the CM decided not to speak about the row on the magazine ban, college principal Valson Thampu told students about the importance of respect and reverence and lamented at how at present insolence and irreverence was being encouraged.
According to students, the principal on a humourous note said: “The media was not allowed at the event but even if there were reporters, he (Thampu) would have received more coverage than Kejriwal.”
The Association of Old Stephanian’s, an unrecognized alumni body, expressed disappointment with Arvind Kejriwal for not paying heed to the sentiments of college students and attending the ceremony.