Tejasvi Surya’s program cancelled in Australia: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who is often embroiled in controversies, received a bitter welcome in Australia when his very first program was cancelled. Tejasvi Surya was supposed to address students at a Sydney university on Monday but the organizers canceled the event after notices of protests.
Tejasvi Surya has arrived in Australia to participate in the annual conference of Australia-India Youth Dialogue. According to the website of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue, it is a forum for dialogue between the youth of India and Australia. It organizes a conference every other year in India and Australia in which 15 each selected youths from both the countries are invited. These youths, who have reached heights in their respective fields, interact with each other and share their ideas.
This year the convention is being held in Melbourne, Australia from May 31 to June 3, for which the youngest BJP leader and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha president Tejashwi Surya is among the 15 people elected from India. He was to address students at Sydney’s Swinburne University of Technology on Monday on the sidelines of the AIYD conference.
Tejasvi Surya’s program cancelled in Australia
Many organizations and people from the academic world had protested against this visit by writing a letter to the university. Some organizations had also sent notices of protest to the university. In response to this notice, the university informed the protesters by email that the event had been cancelled. In its response, the university wrote that the event was not organized by Swinburne University, but by another private institution, the Education Center of Australia (ECA), which operates from the university’s campus building. The official said that discussions have been held with ECA officials and the event has been cancelled.
Protest against BJP leader Tejasvi Surya, known for his staunch Hindutva statements, started even before his arrival in Australia. When the information about his attending the AIVD conference became public, an online petition was also started demanding cancellation of his visa. The petition, which has so far garnered the support of more than 4,000 people, said that “calling a fascist parliamentarian to Australia at the expense and name of government agencies is unacceptable.”
Apart from this, several organizations in Australia have also written a joint letter urging AIYD and its affiliated organizations not to give platform to Tejasvi Surya. In addition to Australian organizations such as The Humanism Project, Hindus for Human Rights, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, We Are the Mainstream, South Asian Humanist Association, human rights organizations from New Zealand, US and UK have also joined in this joint letter.
Dr. Haroon Qasim of The Humanism Project said, “As evident from the website of AIVD, Tejasvi Surya introduces himself as an RSS Swayamsevak. Is making each other’s enemy. It would not be wise to give a platform to his philosophy.”
Indian-Australian author and lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Roanna Gonsalves, says universities should not support such “women-hating Hindutva fascists”. Dr. Sukhmani Khurana of Western Sydney University says that it is inconceivable to provide a platform to anti-women, militaristic ideology in the context of higher education.
The protesting organizations have also cited Tejashwi Surya’s statements in which he talks about radical Hindutva and allegedly anti-Islam. For example, referring to his tweet in which he wrote, referring to Arab women, “95% Arab women have never had an orgasm in the last few hundred years! Every mother has produced kids as act of sex and not love!” Not by doing.” There was a lot of opposition to this tweet and the then Ambassador of India to the UAE, Pavan Kapoor, had to clarify on social media.
Dr. Qasim says that the religious fanaticism of Tejashwi Surya is well known. He said, “There are documents of Tejashwi Surya’s bigotry, his hatred towards women and barbarism, yet the AIYD has invited him to its program. It has named Australia’s best universities and institutions as its partners. This raises serious questions. whether these institutions are aware of Surya’s disputed history. It also questions AIYD’s commitment to Australia’s values of multiculture, diversity and inclusion.”
AIYD did not respond to queries regarding this but the names of several partners were taken off its website after the controversy erupted. KPMG Australia, one of the partners whose names were removed, said it had no affiliation with AIYD this year and that their logo was used without knowledge. The University of Melbourne, on the other hand, described the use of its logo as an “administrative mistake of the AIYD”.
Some of the partners also spoke of not giving up on AIYD. Monash University is one of the four outstanding partners of the Australia India Youth Dialogue, Monash University said in a statement to the media. The university was not involved in the process of selecting delegates for the 2022 convention. This dialogue is not a political forum. Rather, it is an opportunity to come together and share ideas of diverse and complex subjects from Australia and India, opening up avenues for dialogue and driving positive change in a respectful manner.” Another partner, Global Victoria, also clarified that they have no role in the selection of partners.
At the same time, allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party have welcomed Tejashwi Surya by starting an online petition in Australia. The petition, supported by around 1,100 people, states that some people are deliberately opposing him in an attempt to sabotage India-Australia relations.
The petition says, “India is a young country with an average age of about 28 years and Tejashwi Surya is currently the youngest parliamentarian of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the best ambassador for strengthening ties. Youth icon with over one million followers As such, he will prove to be very important in improving relations, especially in the field of education, while Australia is seeing an increase in the number of Indian students after Covid.