A war of words broke out on Friday between Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Twitter over IIT-Madras's censure of a students' group for criticising the Narendra Modi government.Within minutes of Rahul Gandhi condemning the move to censure the IIT students' group on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Irani threw an open challenge to him. "Next time fight ur battles ur self don't hide behind NSUI. N by d way I'm returning to Amethi soon. See you there," Irani tweeted.Earlier, Rahul Gandhi's office tweeted: "Free speech is our right. We will fight any attempt to crush dissent and debate."In another tweet, Rahul Gandhi said: "IIT student group banned for criticizing Modi Government. What next?" Irani hit back with a series of tweets. "Give me a time n place n I'm ready to debate everything re governance including education," she said.
"Tell ur men strong arm tactics were tried in Amethi n didn't scare me during Lok Sabha elections. They won't scare me now," said Irani.The National Students Union of India (NSUI) held a protest outside Irani's residence here against the IIT-Madras censure. "Yesterday u told NSUI to create disorder where there is order. Today ur goons come to my house as I'm away at work," Irani said in another tweet. Irani was on a day-long visit to Silchar, Assam to address party workers to mark the BJP-led government's one year in office. The war of words between the two leaders came hours after IIT-Madras censured Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle - a students' study group - over an anonymous complaint to the central government that it was trying to "create hatred atmosphere" among students by distributing "controversial pamphlets and posters".The anonymous letter said the 'Ambedkar Periyar' group was trying to de-align the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste category students and make them protest against the MHRD and the central government.