College retracts invite to Dalit activist after ABVP threat

Sheetal Sathe was arrested on charges of backing Naxal activities

August 14, 2014 12:39 am | Updated April 21, 2016 03:42 am IST - MUMBAI:

Sheetal of Kabir Kala Manch

Sheetal of Kabir Kala Manch

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has forced St. Xavier’s College here to retract an invitation extended to Dalit activist and singer Sheetal Sathe. Ms. Sathe was arrested in April 2013 for allegedly supporting Naxal activities and later granted bail.

She was invited by the organisers of St. Xavier’s annual festival, ‘Malhar’, to participate in a panel discussion on ‘The invisibility of caste’ on Thursday. With the ABVP threatening to disrupt the festival if she was allowed to attend, the organisers withdrew the invitation on Wednesday.

An ABVP delegation visited the college a few days ago and warned both the management and the students against inviting Ms. Sathe. “She is an anti-national. Such people should be barred from entering colleges because they will influence the youth. If the college sticks to its stand, we will close down Malhar,” Yadunath Deshpande, ABVP’s Mumbai organisational secretary, told The Hindu .

Clamping down on such programmes was “in the national interest,” he claimed.

Ms. Sathe is a member of the Pune-based radical cultural group Kabir Kala Manch.

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