A political storm on Friday erupted over action on students' group Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) by Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) after an anonymous complaint that it was creating “hatred” among students against Hindus and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani locked horns on micro-blogging site Twitter, activists of Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) staged a protest out side the minister’s residence.
“IIT student group banned for criticizing Modi Government. What next? Free speech is our right. We will fight any attempt to crush dissent and debate (sic),” tweeted Rahul.
Irani shot back in a series of tweets, accusing the Congress vice-president of “intimidating” her. The HRD minister also challenged him to a debate on the issue of governance and education.
“Next time fight ur battles ur self, don't hide behind NSUI. N by d way I'm returning to Amethi soon. See you there. Give me a time n place n I'm ready to debate everything re (regarding) governance including education. Tell ur men strong arm tactics were tried in Amethi n didn't scare me during Lok Sabha elections. They won't scare me now. Yesterday u told NSUI to create disorder where there is order. Today ur goons come to my house as I'm away at work (sic),” she said in series of tweets.
The BJP, however, defended the decision of IIT-Madras to temporarily de-recognise the APSC, and accused the Congress of playing “low-level” politics on the issue to divide the students' community and create “disorder” for political gains.