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Kalam to inaugurate Jesuit meet, RSS angry

January 20, 2003 15:27 IST

President A P J Abdul Kalam's likely participation in a global conference of the alumni of Jesuit institutions to be held in Kolkata has angered Hindu right-wingers.

The President is to inaugurate the four-day event, which will be attended by about 600 delegates from 14 countries, on Tuesday.

Organisers, led by the St Xavier's College, claim the event will not only be a get-together for former students but a conclave to deliberate on social issues.

Participants at the conference, to be held in the St Xavier's College, are expected to discuss issues like education, women's empowerment and those related to the environment.

Former students from Germany, Belgium, France, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Cambodia, Nigeria, China, Bhutan and Nepal, besides India, are expected to take part in the meeting.

President Kalam himself graduated from a Jesuit institution (St Joseph's College, Trichy, Tamil Nadu).

However, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief K S Sudarshan raised a controversy by asking the President not to patronise the Jesuits.

He accused Jesuits of 'gagging other religions' and said the President's participation in the conference would be 'unfortunate'.

The Christian community has condemned the RSS's stance.

In view of these developments, police have made elaborate security arrangements at the venue of the conference to keep protestors, if any, at bay.

More reports from West Bengal

M Chhaya in Kolkata