Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fatah today alleged that the BHU VC “unsuccessfully” tried to shut down his talk on the campus and “cancelled” the booking of the auditorium at the eleventh hour, a charge denied by the university. A National Conference on ‘Problems in India and South Asia & its Solutions’ was jointly organised by NGO Jhunna Foundation and ‘Hindusthan Samachar’ news agency at Banaras Hindu University’s K N Udupa Auditorium.
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Fatah in a series of tweets claimed that the VC tried to shut down his talk and cancelled at the eleventh hour the auditorium which he was to speak in. “VC of Banaras Hindu University tries to shut down my talk. Booking of auditorium was cancelled; students in hostels told not to attend. Wow!(sic),” he said in a tweet. In another tweet, he said, “Sad. The Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University @VCofficeBHU tries unsuccessfully to shut down my talk at the BHU Campus today. Loser(sic).” However, the university denied the charges saying the conference was held in the same auditorium which was booked a month ago and Fatah spoke without any hurdle.
Prof Kaushal Kishore Mishra, HoD, Political Science, BHU said, “I was present at the national conference and there was nothing as such where the writer was stopped from speaking and even the event was held at the same auditorium which was booked a month ago. “We don’t know what were his personal issues with the VC, but as far as holding of conference is concerned, the BHU did not obstruct him in anyway from speaking here at this national conference,” he said. In another tweet Fatah said the “BHU failed to silence me”. “Very sad reflection the status of ‘Freedom of Speech’ in India. Howe (sic), where Kolkata & Chandigarh succeeded in silencing me, BHU failed,” he said.