Mumbai, Oct 5 (PTI) Over a thousand former students of St Xavier’s College here have lambasted the institute for inviting Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray for an event, saying it was “antithetical” to its values. Also Read - Cyclone Tauktae 'Very Likely' to Intensify Further, Landfall in Gujarat Early Tuesday | Highlights

Aaditya, son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, was present at a press conference Thursday to launch 150th anniversary celebration of the college of which he is a former student. Also Read - Rhea Chakraborty Expresses Gratitude Towards 'Covid Warriors', Says 'Let's Go Mumbai'

A petition signed by 1,029 former students of the institute said Friday that his presence was “antithetical to the principles and values espoused by St Xavier’s College”. Also Read - Kareena Kapoor Khan Urges Fans To Get Vaccinated, Says 'Registration is Mandatory'

It pointed out that in 2010, Aaditya Thackeray had led a campaign against inclusion of Rohinton Mistry’s Booker Prize-nominated novel “Such a Long Journey” in the Mumbai University’s syllabus for its alleged negative portrayal of the Shiv Sena.

Under pressure from the Yuva Sena (the Sena’s youth wing) the varsity dropped the book from the syllabus, it said.

By inviting Aaditya Thackeray for Thursday’s function, “you are sending out a message that literary freedom and critical thought stand no chance against political pressure tactics,” the petition said.

When contacted for his response, Fr Roy Pereira, vice principal of the college who is in charge of the 150th anniversary celebration, defended the invitation to Thackeray.

The alumni invited for the press conference represented a “broad spectrum of Xavierites from various areas”, he said.

“All of them may have different personal ideologies, but Xavier’s has always been open to diversity. Xavier’s stands for inclusion of all viewpoints,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.