Plea in HC seeks renaming of Kerala university arts festival 'Intifada'

Kerala university arts fest poster

Kochi: Days after the Kerala University students' union landed in a controversy over naming the arts festival as 'Intifada', the Kerala High Court here on Friday received a plea seeking directions to rename the festival. First-year degree student A S Ashish from Kollam's Anchal has approached the court with this plea.

The petitioner alleged that the students' union named the arts festival after a word that is linked with the Palestine-Israel war. He pointed out that though he had filed a complaint with the governor and vice chancellor seeking direction to change the name, no action was taken yet. After considering the plea, the HC sent a notice to the governor, vice chancellor of the university and the students' union.

“ The arts festival aims to promote art forms like Bharathanatyam, Kuchippudi, Mohiniyattam, Kathakali, Mappilappattu, folk dance, patriotic song, Ottamthullal, quiz and drawing among the youngsters. But this time, the students' union has selected a disturbing name for the event. 'Intifada', the Arabic word means 'shake off'. Palestinians have used this word calling for a rebellion. They have used this word to indicate conflicts with Israel. 'Intifada' is a term that is historically connected to terrorist groups such as Hamas,” reads the petition. 

In the plea, Ashish also questioned the students' union for choosing a logo featuring Palestine scarf on the map of Israel as well as the tagline that reads 'defending invasions with art' for the arts festival. He argued that using such a logo and tagline would create a split among the students. Pointing out these facts, the petitioner requested the court to ban the university from using the name, logo and tagline. The festival is scheduled to be held from March 7 to 11. 

As the name triggered a controversy,  the Vice-Chancellor has ordered the registrar to conduct a probe and submit a report.

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