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Sangh Parivar proto-fascist? Kerala academic's query raises Govt of India eye-brows

By Our Representative 

Veteran political scientist and peace and human rights activist Manoranjan Mohanty, who is with the Council for Social Development (CSD), and academic Prem Kumar Vijayan of the department of English, Hindu College, Delhi University, have sought endorsement in support for Dr Gilbert Sebastian of the Kerala Central University (KCU), being “targeted” by Sangh Parivar for seeking a discussion on whether the Sangh Parivar and the Modi government are “proto-fascist”.
Dr Sebastian, who is assistant professor at KCU, situated in Kasargod district of Kerala, “is being targeted by the right wing after he referred to Sangh Parivar as proto-fascist in one of his lectures”, an email alert b the two academics said, criticising the vice chancellor of the university for calling for an enquiry into the matter after being directed by the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resources Development on receiving complaints from the Sangh Parivar students wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Dr Sebastian, who is with department of international relations and political science, was only seeking to have an “academic discussion with his students on whether India under Modi government, can be considered a proto-fascist state”, the two scholars said in the email alert, insisting, “Classrooms are meant to be platforms for discussions and interventions regarding the socio-political conditions of the country.”
Dr Sebastian
Regretting that the Sangh Parivar is using educational institutions as a “platform to spread the Hindutva terror”, the scholars said, “The Sangh has always remained intolerant towards differences and has very evidently been opposing and suppressing dissent voices. Post-2014, under the Modi government, the country has witnessed an explicit suppression of academic freedom.” They added, “The Sangh Parivar and their stooges has been trying to curb discussions and conversations thereby making classrooms less academic and more convenient to exercise their agenda of hatred.
Calling Dr Sebastian yet another victim of “this intolerance towards open discussions”, the email alert, sent through 'Jan', a forum of intellectuals, writers, editors and academicians, said, “The irresponsibility shown by the UGC and the Ministry of Human Resources development in acting without checking into the facts is to be questioned. This very gesture from the part of the administration validates the question of India stooping into a proto-fascist state.”
“We stand with Dr Sebastian and demand immediate action to be taken against ABVP for targeting the professor. We condemn the irresponsible and biased decision of the university administration, UGC and Ministry of Human Resources Development to take action against the professor for simply exercising his right to free speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. We also stand for rebuilding fearless and democratic academic spaces”, it added.

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