Kannada activists throw ink on CFTRI director

Kannada activists throw ink on CFTRI director

Activists of a Kannada outfit threw black ink on Ram Rajasekharan, the director of Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), here on Thursday, for what they claimed was his “anti-Kannada” stand. 

As soon as Rajasekharan alighted from his car at Rani Bahadur auditorium around 9.55 am, a group of Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists, belonging to the T A Narayana Gowda faction, threw black ink on him, DCP (Law and Order), A N Rajanna, said.Rajasekharan was the chief guest at an international symposium on Chemical Biology-Drug Discovery Programme-2014. 

The ink is, however, said to have also fallen on other officers of the University of Mysore (UoM). Later, some women activists of KRV pulled the CFTRI director’s coat while others started banging his car, forcing him to flee to his office. Rajanna said that police personnel deployed at the venue managed to catch one activist. Others were being pursued. 

The police officer clarified that the CFTRI director had no protocol, and only some policemen were deployed for security purposes. “There was no security lapse,” he asserted. 

The KRV district president, Praveen Kumar Gowda, who had organised the protest alleged that Rajasekharan was a “dictator” who was “hurting” the sentiments of Kannadigas at CFTRI. “He did not allow any Kannada programmes at the campus, including Kannada Rajyotsava,” he said. 

Rajasekharan, who called a press meet soon after the incident at the CFTRI office, said he was shocked. “Having been brought up and educated in Karnataka, I have a high regard for the language, the soil as well as the people. What happened today is the handiwork of some CFTRI staff members,” he alleged. Rajasekharan, who was born in Manamadurai town in Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu, has been accused of not allowing any programmes, including Kannada Habba, held every year at the CFTRI campus. 

He, however, claimed that several cultural associations at CFTRI, including the Kannada Sahrudaya Balaga, were allowed to hold limited events as importance was given to science-related activities. Activities involving people from outside CFTRI were curtailed “due to security reasons” and as per directions from the higher authorities. 

The CFTRI director said that on Kannada Rajyotsava day, the Kannada flag was hoisted on the campus, after which Balaga members requested him to provide a particular venue for a programme. “I turned it down since it was not an institution activity. Although the programme was slated to be held at the canteen, Balaga members did not agree to it,” he clarified. 

Rajasekharan, who took charge 17 months ago, said that some “unproductive” staff members, mainly locals, had been asked to perform well and carry out useful researches. “They had threatened me with dire consequences,” he charged. 

Five CFTRI employees were involved in “anti-institution” activities. “But they have denied their role in today’s incident,” he said, adding that he had become unpopular when he transferred a local (driver). “But I have brought in several Kannadigas to CFTRI,” he added. 

UoM vice chancellor K S Rangappa, who was present at the venue, had to face embarrassing moments as delegates from Japan, the US, Russia among others were attending the conference. Speaking to reporters, he demanded that the miscreants be arrested. The incident has hurt the dignity of Mysore University, he said. 

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