Fergusson College in Pune was thrown into chaos after retired justice BG Kolse-Patil decided to deliver a lecture, which was cancelled by the University administration, on the road that leads to its amphitheatre even as ABVP protested the lecture.
Retired justice BG Kolse-Patil said that he was informed that his lecture on Indian Constitution stood cancelled only after he reached the university and since he saw a crowd had gathered already, he decided to deliver the lecture on the road that leads to the amphitheatre itself.
“Since a large crowd of students had already gathered to attend my lecture, I delivered my lecture in the open air,” said Kolse-Patil, according to DNA.
After the cancellation, some students were pulled into a discussion by the Fergusson College administration, as they demanded permission for the lecture to be held. The lecture was organised on the event of Jijabai birth anniversary by a group of FC students.
ABVP had protested Kolse-Patil’s lecture tooth and nail before the lecture was cancelled. As tension gripped the college premises, police were called and security was beefed up at the campus.
One of the organising students of the event, Sharmila Yeole reportedly said that the college cancelled the event at the last hour and hence, Kolse Patil delivered the lecture in the open air.
Over denial of permission, Sharad Kunte, chairman of Deccan Education Society, cited legal reasons. “Our principal is on leave and the principal-in-charge gave permission for this programme. But later, we asked students to change the venue and even suggested a few. We have no political pressure, but there is legal pressure due to which we had to cancel the programme. We had welcomed the speaker and respect the topic of his lecture. But we did not receive any response from students regarding the venue change,” he said.
ABVP was reportedly opposing the lecture by Kolse-Patil because he has been accused of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. According to the account of an anonymous woman, she had gone to Patil’s house to record an interview with him. The interview was recorded inside the house as there were lots of noise outside. At the end of the interview, he asked the woman why the top button of her kurta is open and said that he thought they can be ‘friends’.
Incidentally, justice BG Kolse-Patil has been involved in several other controversies. Kolse Patil was one of the organisers of Elgar Parishad which was held in Maharashtra last year, which led to the Bhima Koregaon riots. He had, in fact, denounced action against the Urban Naxals calling saying that the government was trying to stifle free speech.
In one such speech in 2016, he has alleged that RSS is spreading Hindu terror. In another speech he had said that ‘RSS is the biggest enemy of India, we need to defeat the poisonous ideology of RSS on the ideological level’. He is also in the habit of raking up “Brahminism” and anti-Hindu rhetoric. He had even gone to the extent of alleging that RSS takes money from ISI Pakistan.