Kerala University VC bars students’ union from naming youth fest pro-Palestine ‘Intifada’

Vice Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal barred the students' union from using the name 'Intifada', saying the festival platform cannot be used to propagate any type of ideology.


Published Mar 05, 2024 | 8:03 AMUpdatedMar 05, 2024 | 8:03 AM

The students' union said they will not change the name as the matter was under the consideration of the Kerala High Court. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kerala University Vice-Chancellor on Monday, 4 March, barred the Left-ruled students’ union, the SFI, from using the name ‘Intifada’ for this year’s youth festival at the university, citing its association with the Palestinian uprising against Israel, and said the festival platform cannot be used to propagate any type of ideologies.

In a note issued to the Registrar of the University, Vice Chancellor Mohanan Kunnummal, said the students’ union has “committed a mistake” in choosing a word, which has connotations that could affect many among the students and the public.

He said freedom of expression has its limitations.

“It cannot be used to hurt others and destroy the harmony and peace in the campus. The platform of the youth festival cannot be permitted to be made a stage to propagate any type of ideologies. It is to be used to promote arts and culture and not to be used as a platform for discussing or propagating any ideologies,” the note read.

He directed the Registrar to remove the term from all the banners, posters, fliers, social media handles, and others in connection with the Kerala University youth festival.

The festival is scheduled from 7 to 11 March.

The word, ‘Intifada’, is closely linked with the Palestinian uprising against Israel. The Arabic word means “uprising” or “shaking off.”

Also Read: Art is beyond any religion or caste, says Kerala CM

Students’ union refuses to change name

The ABVP, the student’s wing of the BJP, had approached the Vice Chancellor against the name, saying the word does not promote harmony and was not in any way associated with art or culture.

When seeking an explanation by the Vice Chancellor regarding the term ‘Intifada’, the chairman of the Left-ruled student’s union said, “the name was chosen to create a defence against Israel for their atrocities on the children of Palestine”.

The Director of the Student’s Services has also supported the choice of the name, saying the union was free to choose the name and there is no reason to interfere with the same, the university sources said.

However, the Vice Chancellor rejected the explanations and said the youth festival was not a place for any protest.

The note to the Registrar said the university was bound to ensure that its activities do not hurt the sentiments of any sections of the students, faculty and public.

Meanwhile, the students’ union informed that they will not change the name as the matter was under the consideration of the Kerala High Court.

The high court had on 1 March issued notice to the state government and the university Vice Chancellor on a writ petition against naming the university youth festival ‘Intifada’.

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