After being turned down by various hall owners, student leader Kanhaiya Kumar has finally found a venue to address students in Mumbai on Saturday — Adarsh Vidyalaya, a school in Chembur.
Kanhaiya, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, shot to fame, when he was slapped with sedition charges. Kumar will be speaking at a convention organized by the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) on the ‘dissent in the universities and the resistance on them’. Kumar will speak at the Bal Gandharva auditorium in Pune on Sunday. “We finally overcame all hurdles and the event is happening,” said Prethy Shekhar, state secretary, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), one of the Left outfits.
However, on Friday, the Chembur police station refused to accept the application intimating them about the event. Finally, the organisers got police commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar to intervene. “Some people are spreading baseless rumours via social media that the police are hostile towards the programme. We would like to state a no-objection certificate (NOC) is required from the person, whose place will be used for the programme. Once that is issued, we can provide security depending on the need,” read a statement issued by the Mumbai police.
While the state BJP has maintained silence, both the Sena and MNS have taken a neutral stand.
The search for a venue was a Herculean task as managements and owners of prominent halls in the city refused to rent out their premises for the meeting. Janata Shikshan Sanstha in Worli was finalised earlier, but the police imposed stringent conditions, which the organisers were not okay with. Finding a venue in Pune, too, was not easy. Rashtra Sewa Dal ground was the original venue, but the Pune police objected to it citing security concerns. Finally, Pune mayor and NCP leader Prashant Jagtap got the venue.