Social activist and Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey’s contract as a visiting faculty with IIT-BHU has been terminated by its board of governors.
While the board charged him of being a “Naxalite”, engaging in “anti-national” activities, the activist claims that the RSS is behind his ouster.
He had taught at the varsity for the past two-and-a-half years. He was a visiting faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering of the IIT-BHU and his contract was to end in July.
Reports suggest that the termination order does not mention any reason, but according to Pandey it was preceded by a discussion with the top administration.
He was involved in anti-administration activities and spoiled the academic atmosphere of the university, BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh had said.
Pandey, the co-founder of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and vice president of Socialist Party, said in a statement on social media: “In a recent board meeting the vice chancellor of BHU, who was made the chairman of IIT BoG (board of governors) by minister of HRD, GoI, bypassing the panel of five names recommended by a resolution of BoG, Prof GC Tripathi, and dean of faculty affairs, IIT, BHU, Prof Dhananjay Pandey, both gentlemen associated with RSS, primarily forced the decision.”
“I wish to clarify that I’m not a naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian. But I do identify with the causes taken up by naxalites even though I may not agree with their methods. I also think that it requires a lot of courage and sacrifice to be a Naxalite and I certainly don’t have that kind of resolve,” he said in the statement.
END OF CONTRACT AT IIT-BHU My contract at IIT, BHU Varanasi as a visiting faculty has prematurely… https://t.co/C8rFietkUo
— Socialist PartyIndia (@spiInfo) January 5, 2016
He also said the banned BBC documentary on Nirbhaya was to be screened in his development studies class, but it was stopped after the chief proctor and the police intervened before the class. Instead, a different documentary was screened followed by a discussion on violence against women.
“I’ve no regrets as the decision to terminate my contract has not been taken based on my academic performance but it is because of my political views and activities,” he wrote on Facebook.
Pandey is a co-founder of Asha Trust which has several centres. He also leads the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), the largest network of grassroots people’s movements in the country. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2002 in the emergent leadership category.