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IISc Bengaluru 'Denies' Activist Teesta Setalvad Entry For Lecture On 'Communal Harmony'; Event Held Post Intervention

Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad on Friday said she was initially prevented from delivering a lecture on 'communal harmony and justice' at the premier Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru as the administration cancelled the meeting at the last minute. The organisers of the event said she spoke on communal riots and persecution of Muslims and dissenters in India

Activist Teesta Setalvad
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Human rights activist Teesta Setalvad on Friday said she was initially prevented from delivering a lecture on 'communal harmony and justice' at the premier Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru as the administration cancelled the meeting at the last minute. The event was organised by a group called 'Break the Silence' on Wednesday evening at the IISc campus and the CCE Lecture Hall was booked for the programme. 

In a video statement on social media, Setalvad said that the officials denied her entry to the hall at the last minute, forcing them to hold the meeting in the garden outside the IISc canteen. Over 40 professors and students joined the lecture on the IISc campus, she said. "Yesterday, I had a very unusual experience at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. Some professors and students had invited me for a lecture at the CCE Hall on 'Communal Harmony and Justice' and I think it was a last minute decision of the administration to cancel the meeting," she said.

She also said that the IISc administration even tried to prevent her from entering the institute's gate. However, over 40 students and professors sat in the garden outside the canteen and had an intense discussions on "justice, peace, the critical juncture where India is at and also the need for citizens today to collectively come together, speak up for rationality, dissent, communal harmony and peace."

The activist said, "Communal harmony and peace cannot be a taboo word in modern-day 21st century India."

The organisers of the event said she spoke on communal riots and persecution of Muslims and dissenters in India. The IISc authorities has so far not issued a comment on the issue. Earlier too, 500 scientists and academics had written an open letter to the IISc last month asking it to ensure academic freedom after the institute reportedly cancelled a talk by activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, who had been jailed for their participation in anti-CAA protests in 2019. 

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