Days after controversial author’s visit is cancelled, TISS students read in protest
Mumbai Mirror Bureau
Institute director had said Arun Ferreira would not be invited to speak as he was not amenable to reason, had no scholarly value
Days after a book reading session by civil rights activist Arun Ferreira at the Deonar campus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was abruptly called off, a section of students staged a protest on Monday night by reading from Ferreira’s book and from the work of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan.According to Ferreira, his lecture scheduled for last Wednesday had been cancelled half an hour before it was due to start following a visit by policemen in civilian clothes, who had raised the issue of Ferreira’s alleged Naxal links.

Ferreira was due to read from his book describing his four-and-a-half years in prison as an under-trial in 11 cases related to Naxalism, in all of which he was subsequently acquitted.

Both TISS authorities and the police denied external interference and said the book reading had been postponed because the Students’ Union had failed to obtain the requisite permissions to book the venue.

Ferreira has previously been employed by TISS and had delivered a lecture in the campus in 2012.

“We read out a section of Ferreira’s book and a chapter from Perumal Murugan’s book that invited the ire of Right-wing groups,“ said one of the students, who had organised the protest. Following the cancellation of the talk, institute director Prof S Parsuraman, had written to the students denying Ferreira’s charge of police interference. Accusing Ferreira of spreading wrong information, Parsuraman had claimed that his experience “over the past 26 hours“ had convinced him that Ferreira was “not amenable to reason“ and that he would not be invited to speak in the campus since his talk had “no scholarly value“.