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HomeFact CheckDid Kolkata’s Presidency University Allow Iftar Party While It Cited Rules To...

Did Kolkata’s Presidency University Allow Iftar Party While It Cited Rules To Block Saraswati Puja? Here’s What We Found

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Claim
An Iftar party was held at Eden Hindu Hostel of the Presidency University, which earlier this year had refused to allow Saraswati Puja on its premises.

Fact
Presidency University prohibits any religious functions on its campus. But the Iftar party was held at the Eden Hindu Hostel, where a Saraswati Puja was also organised earlier this year.

As West Bengal is yet to get over the fall out of the violence that occurred during the recent Ram Navami celebrations in the state, a social media post, alleging partisan treatment of Hindus by Kolkata’s Presidency University, is being widely shared. Those sharing the claim allege that the university prevented students from celebrating Saraswati Puja earlier this year, but allowed Muslims to host Iftar parties.

BJP’s Keya Ghosh was among several others who shared photos of an alleged Iftar party at the Eden Hindu Hostel with the caption, “Dawat-e-iftar in Presidency College’s Eden Hindu hostel. Plz remember, Presidency University did not allow Saraswati Puja within the compound citing it goes against “secular” nature of the institution.”

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

News outlet OpIndia also used Ghosh’s tweet in a report titled “Kolkata’s Presidency University allows Dawat-e-Iftar to ‘uphold the spirit of plurality’, never gave permission for Saraswati Puja to ‘maintain secularism’ “

Also Read: Clashes And Confusion: Howrah Police and VHP at Odds Over Permission for Ram Navami Rally

Fact Check/Verification

We noticed that the multiple social media users who made the claim were using the screengrab of a Facebook post by one “IrFan SadiQue” to support their assertion.

Taking a clue, we looked up the Facebook account of ‘IrFan SadiQue’, and found the pictures shared on April 5, 2023 with the caption which translates to “Iftar at Dawat, Eden Hindu Hostel, (Presidency University)”

Screengrab from Facebook post by @irfan.coochbehar

Newschecker reached out to Irfan, a student at Kolkata’s Aliah University, who informed us that the pictures were from an Iftar party that was held inside the Eden Hindu Hostel of Presidency University on April 5. He added that such Iftar parties have been happening since last year, and non-Presidency students, like himself, were also invited to attend the same.

Irfan further clarified that the Iftar party was held inside the Eden Hindu Hostel, and not the Presidency’s Campus, adding that the University does not allow any religious function within its compound.

Also Read: Does This Video Show A ‘Safe’ Ram Navami Procession In Pakistan?

Newschecker further reached out to a second-year student at the Presidency University who corroborated the information shared by Irfan. “Celebration of any festival is restricted inside the campus. It is inside the hostel that we celebrate different occasions, including Iftar parties and Saraswati Puja,” the student informed us on the condition of anonymity. He further added that, though the Iftar parties started last year, the Saraswati Puja has been taking place within the hostel for a long time now.

Furthermore, we looked up “Eden Hindu Hostel,” & “Saraswati Puja” on Google, which yielded a report by The Telegraph dated May 1, 2022.  The report elaborated on an Iftar party inside the Eden Hindu Hostel, and further quoted a student, Shahriyar Alam Mondal, as saying, “The hostel has a tradition of organising Saraswati Puja. Students from all communities take part in the Puja. Now an iftar was held where everyone joined in. This shows the bond among students that goes beyond narrow religious identities.”

The official website of Presidency University, Kolkata, too, lists Saraswati Puja as a cultural  activity at Eden Hindu Hostel.

 Presidency University
Screengrab from Presidency University website

We also came across a Facebook post by the “unofficial page” of Eden Hindu College carrying a series of pictures from this year’s Saraswati Puja celebrations. The post clarified that though the Presidency University does not allow any religious events, the Eden Hindu Hostel celebrates different festivals.

Facebook user @shuvajitspeaks, had also posted a video of Saraswati Puja celebrations at the Eden Hindu Hostel in January this year.

Screengrab from Facebook pot by @shuvajitspeaks

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that the allegation of religious discrimination by the Presidency University, Kolkata is misleading. The Iftar party, like the Saraswati Puja, was held on the Eden Hindu Hostel premises, and not at the University campus.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Telephonic Conversation With Irfan Sadique On April 6, 2023
Telephonic Conversation With Presidency University On April 6, 2023
Report By The Telegraph, Dated May 1, 2022
Official Website Of Presidency University
Facebook Post By @shuvajitspeaks, Dated January 26, 2023

(With inputs from Paromita Das)


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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