New Delhi: The in-charge principal and vice-principal of the HK Arts College in Ahmedabad resigned on “moral grounds” on Monday after the administration refused to allow an event where MLA Jignesh Mevani was to speak.
Mevani, the MLA from Gujarat’s Vadgam, is an alumnus of the college which is run by the Brahmchari Wadi trust.
“I am a lover of an individual’s freedom and have not acted as a principal of the college,” Hemantkumar Shah, the principal in-charge and head of the college’s economics department, told the Indian Express. “I received a letter from the trustees at 4 pm yesterday [Sunday] canceling permission for today’s event. The only reason given to me… was that it is due to the current political situation. But I want to ask, what is that situation?”
Mevani “saluted” the principal’s decision to quit and tweeted about the incident.
H K Arts College with prominent trustees like B V Doshi, R Chaudhary & K Desai (all Padma Awardees) are not standing up against the hooliganism of BJP and its student wing. This is a shameful day for freedom of speech and democracy. Strongly condemn this move. @CMOGuj shame on u
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) February 11, 2019
Shah said his decision to invite Mevani was not wrong, as leaders from different political parties have been invited to previous events in the college.
“It is clear that freedom of thought and expression given in our Constitution are being stifled in the current political scenario,” Shah said, “And this is being patronised politically.”
Some students had threatened to disrupt the event if Mevani was invited, he said. “Humans will not be humans without the freedom of expression and will be reduced to becoming a pawn in the hands of a demonic system called government.”
“In fact, the trustees should have told me that go ahead with this event without any hesitation and we will be present in this event and take responsibility,” Shah said. “Instead, the trustees decided to kill their freedom by their own hands under political pressure making it an embarrassing, painful and shameful.”
The college’s in-charge vice-principal, Mohanbhai Parmar, gave similar reasons for resigning.