The Maharaja Sayajirao University has suspended its Fine Arts department dean for refusing to obey the orders for closing a controversial art exhibition, which was objected by Sangh Parivar groups for alleged negative portrayal of Hindu deities.
Vice Chancellor Manoj Soni decided to suspend Shivaji Panikar from all positions with immediate effect for three months and a notice conveying his suspension was pasted at his residence midnight last night, Pro Vice Channcellor S M Joshi said on Saturday.
Panikkar was directed not to enter the campus without the permission of University Registrar or Registrar (In charge) unless he notifies them in writting during suspension.
GC Maheshwari, dean of the MS Patel Institute of Management Studies, has been asked to take responsibility of fine arts faculity for the time being, Joshi said.
Panikkar, who was out of the town, said his suspension "illegal and condemanable". He said he would fight his suspension legally.
Human creativity and expression will stand above MS university authorities "shaky and indevisive" position, he said.
Controversy had broken out when VHP and BJP workers barged into the Fine Arts faculty and vandalised art exhibits of gods and goddesses displayed by a post-graduate student Chandra Mohan inside the faculty earlier this week.
Some Christian groups also objected to the art works. The student was later arrested by the police.
The university has closed the controversial art exhibition on Friday.