Tata Institute Suspends PhD Student for Screening Banned Documentaries

TISS suspends PhD student for screening banned docs, organizing "anti-national" events, raising concerns over academic freedom and dissent on Indian campuses.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Tata Institute Suspends PhD Student for Screening Banned Documentaries

Tata Institute Suspends PhD Student for Screening Banned Documentaries

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai has suspended a PhD student, Ramadas Prinisivanandan, for two years over alleged involvement in screening banned documentaries and participating in "anti-national" activities. Prinisivanandan, who is pursuing his doctorate in Development Studies, has also been debarred from entering all TISS campuses in Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad, and Guwahati.

TISS cited instances like the screening of documentaries such as "Ram Ke Naam" ahead of January 26 as a "mark of dishonour and protest" against the Ram Mandir consecration in Ayodhya, and the screening of a banned BBC documentary on the TISS campus last January. The institute also accused Prinisivanandan of organizing the Bhagat Singh Memorial Lecture and inviting "controversial guest speakers."

In the suspension notice, TISS stated that Prinisivanandan's activities were "not in the interest of the nation" and amounted to a "serious criminal offence." The institute claimed that his actions brought a "bad name to the nation" and that it cannot permit or tolerate such activities.

Why this matters: The suspension of Prinisivanandan raises concerns about academic freedom and the right to dissent on university campuses in India. It also highlights the growing tensions between student activists and educational institutions over issues of nationalism and free speech.

Prinisivanandan, who hails from Kerala, said he will appeal against the suspension before the institute's internal authority. The Progressive Student Forum, with which Prinisivanandan is associated, claimed that a protest he participated in Delhi was related to "anti-student policies" and that the Bhagat Singh Memorial Lecture has invited well-known academics and human rights activists in the past.

TISS officials have stated that Prinisivanandan is "more like a political activist than a student" and has been involved in violations of discipline codes. "Prinisivanandan's activities were not in the interest of the nation and anti-national," the suspension order said, adding that he had been given repeated warnings to prioritize his academic commitments.

Key Takeaways

  • TISS suspends PhD student Ramadas Prinisivanandan for 2 years over "anti-national" activities.
  • Prinisivanandan accused of screening banned documentaries and organizing "controversial" lectures.
  • TISS claims Prinisivanandan's actions "not in the interest of the nation" and a "criminal offence".
  • Suspension raises concerns about academic freedom and right to dissent on Indian campuses.
  • Prinisivanandan to appeal suspension, claims activities related to "anti-student policies", not nationalism.