Pune: The principal of Fergusson College, who had asked police to take action against those who "raised anti-national slogans" on the campus during a verbal clash between two students' groups, retracted his statement on Wednesday, saying he had only meant to seek a probe to find out if such slogans were raised or not.
With the issue sparking a row, the principal was summoned by state Education Mininster Vinod Tawde to give an explanation on the incident.
On Tuesday, Principal RG Pardeshi had dashed off a letter to police alleging that "anti-national slogans" were raised during heated exchanges between the two groups when JNU ABVP president Alok Singh was to address students to explain "Truth of JNU" on the Kanhaiya Kumar episode.
"I request you to take stern action against individuals who raised anti-national slogans on the campus," Pardeshi said in his letter to the city police which he subsequently withdrew.
In a turnaround, Pardeshi on Wednesday told PTI that the letter had a "typographical error" and what he meant was a request to
police to investigate the matter to find out whether such anti-national slogans were raised by a group of students on the campus.
Deccan Gymkhana Police inspector Pravin Chougule confirmed that the principal had withdrawn his earlier letter, saying that a revised draft was being sent to the authorities.
A group of students owing affiliation to Ambedkarite organisations in the city had reached the college campus to counter the ABVP meeting.
"We did not raise any anti-national slogans during our protest," Sujat Ambedkar, son of RPI leader and former MP Prakash Ambedkar, who was present during the incident, said.
Police said they were examining CCTV footage of the campus to ascertain if any untoward things had happened during the rival demonstrations.
While Pardeshi said no permission was granted to the ABVP delegation to hold the meeting, a spokesman of the outfit said college authorities had told them that since it was supposed to be an informal interaction with the Fergusson students, there was no need for a formal nod from them.
Earlier in the day, various groups stormed into the campus condemning the letter and demanded stern action against ABVP members.
"We have asked police to investigate and take action against students who allowed ABVP members and JNU ABVP's Alok Singh on the campus and conducted the event despite the fact that permission was denied for the event," he said.