Mumbai varsity sends professor on forced leave for criticising Rahul Gandhi
15 January 2020
The Mumbai University has sent the director of the Department of Academy of Theatre Arts Yogesh Soman on forced leave and initiated an inquiry against him over complaints of alleged remarks made against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The university is reported to have received several students union members alleging that Soman had made objectionable remarks against Rahul Gandhi and also claiming to be against women in general.
Some students of the theatre academy, along with NSUI, AISF and Chhatra Bharti had sat on a dharna in the Kalina campus of the varsity on Monday seeking action against Soman.
Soman is reported to have posted a video on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on 14 December, addressed to Rahul Gandhi, in which he allegedly stated: “You truly aren’t Savarkar. You don’t have any qualities of Savarkar. The truth is, you aren’t a true Gandhi either. You don’t have any of the values.”
He had made the video after Rahul Gandhi, at Congress’ Bharat Bachao Rally in New Delhi in December, had said that he would not apologise, amid a controversy over his ‘rape in India’ remark.
“My name is not Rahul Savarkar, it is Rahul Gandhi. I will not apologise for having said something right. Modi should be the one asking for forgiveness from the nation. Modi’s assistant Amit Shah should be asking for forgiveness,” Gandhi had said at the rally.
"Chhatra Bharti Students Union and activists of AISF had started the agitation from 13 January. It was only after the intervention of MLC Kapil Patil, the Mumbai University general secretary issued a letter at 11:30 pm stating that Soman was being sent on forced leave," said Shridhar Pednekar, Mumbai unit president, Chhatra Bharti, on Tuesday.
The protest was withdrawn after action against Soman.
Further, registrar Ajay Deshmukh, in a letter, informed the students that a fact-finding committee will be set up to investigate the matter and a report will be sought within four weeks, The Indian Express reported.
“We are not related to NSUI. We only want to request the VC that our new director should be appointed on the basis of a solid vision and reputed personality. Most of our faculty can’t teach. Soman has been recruiting his peers from Pune, where he hails from. He is unapproachable and unfriendly. We will continue to fight till Soman tenders his resignation,” The Indian Express quoted Apurva Ingle, cultural secretary of Chhatra Bharati, as saying.
Meanwhile, NSUI vice president Ajay Mishra’s letter mentioned that Soman’s video had “insulted” the Congress leader. “He claimed that Soman was behaving like a political advocate in the university, and this could provoke clashes among students. The letter requested the V-C to take strict action against Soman and sack him,” The Indian Express reported.