Friday, Jun 20, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
Mr. Dhadda said that Jayaprakash Narayan founded the Institute of Gandhian Studies in 1960 and the campus belonged to the Sarvodaya organisation Sarva Sewa Sangh. "The land belongs to Sarva Sewa Sangh. The buildings were constructed with public donations. Then how can they take over it just because some time the ICSSR gave grants to it, that too from 1977 only?'' he asked. He challenged the U.P. Government to produce records to establish its ownership of the property.
In fact, the attempts to take over the Institute started about three years ago allegedly with the active support of the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi. First, the grant to the Institute was withheld. Then a person with RSS background was posted as its director, even when the ICSSR had no powers to do it.
Mr. Dhadda said that the Uttar Pradesh Government had already conducted many enquiries into the functioning of the institute and no anomalies were found. "Once even the registration was cancelled though it has been renewed now,'' he noted referring to the harassment being meted out both by the Mayawati Government and the Centre.
A week ago when Sarva Sewa Sangh workers entered the campus, Kusum Kedia, the director appointed by the ICSSR, called the police. She sought to register an FIR against the workers for trespass and for damaging the wall of the campus.
``In their attempt to stifle the functioning of the Institute, the authorities posted police on the campus. After a directive from the director of the ICSSR, all the rooms are now under lock,'' Mr. Dhadda said pointing out that when the board members met on April 15 last they had to sit in the veranda. The attempt to take over the institute is presently stopped by a stay from the High Court.
The Sarvodaya activists, led by the Magsaysay Award winner, Sandeep Pandey, are presently staging a `satyagraha' at the institute premises demanding opening of the locks. "These kind of brazen attempts to take over Gandhian institutions in the country by those opposed to the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi should be curbed in the national interest,'' Mr. Dhadda said. A similar attempt to take over the Sewagram Ashram was made some time back, he noted.
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