Private engineering colleges in Indore have been directed to send 100 students for the April 14 rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mhow, to commemorate 125th birth anniversary Dr BR Ambedkar. The move has drawn flak from the Congress-backed student’s body while the Bharatiya Janata Party has distanced itself from the directive.
The National Students Union of India (NSUI) submitted a memorandum to the local administration and directorate of higher education (DHE) on Monday alleging that it was a “sheer misuse of power.”
State NSUI president Vipin Wankhede said, “How could you call any citizen on a National holiday to attend any political function. It is a violation of right to freedom of any Indian citizen. My question to BJP is that do they fear a flop show before the Prime Minister and that is why they had called students to attend the programme?”
On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson KK Mishra lambasted the BJP government saying that such orders had never been issue.
Taking a swipe at Modi, Mishra said, “The directive proves that prime minister’s popularity has nosedived in the last 22 months and the party is not sure of drawing a big crowd and therefore forcing students to attend it.”
There are at least 350 colleges in the division and with 100 students, it comes to a respectable attendance of 35,000.
The order, dated April 7 and signed by assistant commissioner (tribal welfare) Mohini Shrivastava, asked the colleges to compulsorily send the students, arrange for their transport and meals.
The students were asked to wear their uniforms and bring their IDs and were to be accompanied by their teachers.
RC Verma, additional director of department of higher education (Indore division), said the notice was only for NCC and NSS students from colleges in Mhow and it was not mandatory.
“At a meeting recently, the district administration had requested us to provide volunteers for water, food and medical arrangements on the spot. Since we had no bus, we asked the colleges to provide us buses and the students,” he said.
However, the notice clearly mentions that it is compulsory for the colleges to send their students and nowhere is it mentioned that it is for NCC and NSS students or restricted to Mhow colleges.
The local BJP distanced itself from the notice.
Indore district BJP president Ashok Somani and city BJP president Kailash Sharma said they were not aware of such an order but the motive behind it could be to ensure that maximum number of youths get to see and hear Modi.
“We don’t need to bring in people for Modiji, they will come on their own. The entire Malwa is our stronghold,” Sharma said.
A petition has been filed at the Indore bench of the high court in this regard by advocate Anshumaan Shrivastava on behalf of Pankaj Prajapat on Monday.
Advocate Shrivastava said after going through the order, it clearly appeared that it was to gain political mileage and such an order will degrade the system. “The action of respondent prima facie appears to be arbitrary and unconstitutional and this is an attempt to infringe the freedom and right to life guaranteed under the constitution of India,” he added.