'There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent': President Pranab Mukherjee on Ramjas college row

President Pranab Mukherjee also said there should be no room in India for intolerant Indian and asserted we all have freedom of speech and expression.

Amid ongoing debate over freedom of expression in light of the violence at Ramjas college and threat to the daughter of Kargil martyr’s daughter for speaking out against ABVP, President Pranab Mukherjee said “there must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent,”  underscoring the need to engage in meaningful discussion rather than propagating a culture of unrest.

“Those in universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest. It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet,” the President said at the 6th KS Rajamony Memorial Lecture in Kerala’s Kochi.

He also stressed on the need to make  collective efforts to re-discover the sense of national purpose and patriotism. Asserting that freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed to every Indian by the Constitution, the president said, there is no room in India for intolerant Indian.

Remembering the glorious ancient culture of universities in India, he said, “Our premier institutions of higher education are the vehicles on which India has to propel itself into a knowledge society.These temples of learning must resound with creativity and free thinking.”

Earlier, clashes erupted between activists of the All India Students Association (AISA) and the RSS’ student wing ABVP outside Ramjas College here last week, a day after the ABVP forced suspension of an event to be addressed by JNU student Umar Khalid.