Skip to main content

High Court questions Banaras varsity decision to prematurely terminate Magsasay award winning academic

By Our Representative
The Allahabad High Court has asked the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), to explain its controversial decision to prematurely terminate top Gandhian academic and Magsaysay award winner Dr Sandeep Pandey on January 6, 2016. He got the award, called Asian Nobel Prize, in 2002 the emerging leadership category for his grassroots work, taking up human rights issues.
The decision by the IIT-BHU Board of Governors (BoG) had drawn widespread condemnation across the country, and was seen to be not just arbitrary but manifestation of the machinations of the RSS' sway on the everyday functioning of the Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD).
Pandey was reportedly called 'anti-national', without providing any opportunity for him to be heard, or giving him a chance to respond or explain. The BoG took cognisance of a complaint by a final year MA political science student, who reportedly never attended classes, allegedly without taking pains to verify the correctness of the allegations leveled against Pandey.
In an statement soon after the termination, Pandey said, “The charges levelled against me are that I am a Naxalite, showed a banned documentary on Nirbhaya case and am also involved in anti-national activities.” He clarified, I'm not a Naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian.”
At the same time, Pandey said, “I do identify with the causes taken up by Naxalites even though I may not agree with their methods”, adding, “The banned documentary on Nirbhaya made by BBC was to be screened in my development studies class during the even semester of academic year 2014-15 but the decision was withdrawn after intervention of the chief proctor.”
“However”, Pandey added, “A discussion on the issue of violence against women in our society was conducted after screening a different documentary.” As for the charge that he is anti-national, he said, “I do not believe in the idea of a nation or national boundaries. Hence, I cannot be anti or pro-nation. I am pro-people.”
Pandey, who served as visiting faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-BHU, challenged the termination in the writ petition he filed soon after he was handed over the termination order. The matter was taken up by the High Court at Allahabad on February 5, 2016.
Dr Pandey in his petition argued that his removal was an “open abuse” of power on ideological and non-academic grounds and it had its “roots somewhere else”. He added, Vice Chancellor Prof GC Tripathi was “appointed as the Chairman of IIT BoG by the Ministry of HRD, Government of India, bypassing the panel of five names recommended by a BoG resolution.
Referring to the fact that Tripathi, and Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT-BHU, Prof Dhananjay Pandey, known to be associated with the RSS, who “forced” the decision, Pandy said, there was "no academic consideration in the decision to termininate him, and it was driven by “conflict of ideologies”, hence poses a “threat to the fundamental freedoms granted in the Indian Constitution.”
Pandey said, the decision of the BoG at the instance of the chairman was “a step further to saffronisation of IIT-BHU, and in a “democratic state such an attempt which is aimed at suppressing the ideologies is required to be nipped in bud as otherwise it will have serious effects.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Interpreting UAPA bail provisions: Is Supreme Court setting the clock back?

By Kavita Srivastava*, Dr V Suresh** The Supreme Court in its ruling on 7th February, 2024 in   `Gurvinder Singh v State of Punjab’ held that its own well-developed jurisprudence that "Bail is the rule and jail the exception" will not apply to those charged under the UAPA.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.