Kochi, March 2 (IANS) Amid the controversy surrounding Delhi University, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said that students should engage in discussion and debate rather “propagate a culture of unrest”, while also backing freedom of thought and expression.
“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,” Mukherjee said while delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture.
“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,” he added.
Mukherjee’ remarks came amid the controversy which started last week after violence at Delhi University’s Ramjas College between the left-wing All India Students Association and the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
Mukherjee also said there should be “no room in India for the intolerant Indian”.
“India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression. Our society has always been characterized by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion.
“Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent,” he said.