File photo of Teesta Setalvad | (Pic: PTI)
File photo of Teesta Setalvad | (Pic: PTI)

Here's how activist Teesta Setalvad's talk at IISc Bangalore almost did not happen

The talk was held on the institute campus at a cafeteria, however, students from other colleges were prevented from entering and attending the talk

In another case of blocking activists entering the institute, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been accused of preventing activist and Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) Secretary Teesta Setalvad from entering its campus, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

Setalvad was due to deliver a talk on 'Communal Harmony and Justice' at the IISc campus on Wednesday, August 16, at around 5 pm, organised by Break The Silence, a collective of IISc students.

However, a few hours before the talk was due to take place, the students alleged that they had been informed that permission was not given to conduct the talk.

"We had asked for permission a week in advance and had continuously asked for updates from the institute authorities, however, they said they would update us and never did. A few hours before, we were called into the registrar's office and informed that the director was not in office and so was not able to give us permission for the talk in the hall we had booked. He said however that the talk could still take place on the campus," Shairik Sengupta, one of the students who had helped organise the talk, told The New Indian Express.

However, prior to the talk, despite being accompanied by a student, Setalvad was prevented from entering the institute campus by guards.

"Usually, visitors are asked to log their details and are let inside. If its cases where the visiting hours are suspicious, like coming in at 12 am, the guards are allowed to prevent entry. However, this was not the case as it was informed that she would be arriving and a student was present with her," said Surjadipta De Sarkar, another student.

The issue had been resolved only after faculty had approached the guards present at the gate and demanded to speak to whoever had asked to prevent Setalvad's entry, said Shairik. The talk was held on the institute campus at a cafeteria, however, students from other colleges were prevented from entering and attending the talk.

This is the second such incident to occur at the institute. "When we had invited activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita to give a talk, they had cancelled the talk on the basis that the authorities were not aware, despite us asking for permission beforehand. To prevent it happening again, we had apprised the authorities beforehand, but this time around no communication was given at all until just before the talk," said Shairik.

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