Close on the heels of the planned disruption of a speech by Siddharth Varadrajan, noted journalist and ex-editor of ‘The Hindu’ on the Allahabad University campus by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (http://thewire.in/2016/01/23/editors-guild-condemns-abvp-threats-to-the-wires-founding-editor-20015/) has come the news that Sandeep Pandey, who has been working as a guest faculty in IIT-BHU for the last two and half years was recently threatened allgegedly by members of the same fraternity on the university campus itself.
It may be added here that Sandeep Pandey’s services were abruptly terminated by the university on the charge of being a naxalite and being involved in ‘anti-national’ activities (http://kafila.org/2016/01/11/letter-against-dismissal-of-prof-sandeep-pandey/). Looking at the aggressive manner in which members of the Hindutva fraternity seem to be moving it is quite possible that their threats will not remain merely at the level of words and one definitely perceives a danger to Sandeep’s well being at their hands.
As it is apparent that despite facing wrath of students and youth from across the campuses for its planned attempts to saffronise educational institutions – which is very much evident in the organised resistance put forth by students across the country on the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula or the historic strike by students of FTII which received national-international support and similar other cases – the BJP government at the centre is hell bent on furthering its agenda of exclusion and hate in education in very many ways and silencing of critical voices forms an important part of this overall strategy.
Pasted below is a press release issued by Sandeep Pandey himself :
Press Release : 25 January 2016
IIT-BHU has recently terminated my contract on the charges of being a naxalite and being involved in anti-national activities. I’ve a month’s notice and have time until 5 February, 2016 to wind up. Today, on 25 January, 2016, at 7:30 pm two people associated with RSS Ravi Singh, who works in an IT firm in Bengaluru and is a 2004 IIT-BHU alumni and Awdhesh Dubey, a Geophysics alumni, encountered me in the IIT guest house. Ravi Singh was especially aggressive and said I should not discuss questions like ‘beef’ in class. I said I discussed the vegan philosophy and think students should be exposed to varied thought. He said if I’ve to discuss such things I should do it outside the university and instead I should discuss about Indian culture in my class. I said you cannot dictate a professor what he should or should not teach. Then he became more aggressive and started threatening me in a fascist way by saying I don’t have the freedom to decide what I’ll teach. I told him that the course has been duly approved by the IIT authorities and if he has any problems with the ‘Development Studies’ course he should talk to the Director of the Institute. I decided to lodge a complaint with the local Lanka Police Station against Ravi Singh and Awadhesh Dubey for threatening me. Ravi Singh is also going to lodge a counter-complaint against me.
Sandeep Pandey, Visiting Faculty, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, IIT, BHU, Varanasi
Contact mobile of IIT-BHU students: 8795217652 (Hemant Kannaujia), 7753066654 (Santosh Kumar)