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Art attack: probe indicts university

A panel appointed by the Gujarat Governor indicts authorities of MS University, Vadodara, where VHP activists resorted to vandalism last May, reports Rathin Das.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2008 00:20 IST
Rathin Das

A committee appointed by the Gujarat Governor has indicted the authorities of MS University, Vadodara, where VHP activists resorted to vandalism last May objecting to a painting by an arts student.

On May 9, local VHP activists barged into the faculty of fine arts at the Maharaja Sayajirao University. They got post-graduate student Chandramohan arrested for painting Hindu deities showing anatomical details that they found “objectionable” and “obscene”.

At the time of the fracas, vice-chancellor Manoj Soni is said to have looked the other way taking no action against the activists. He also suspended acting dean Shivaji Panikker for indiscipline, following a representation by BJP councillors.

There was a near clash between Sangh Parivar activists and art lovers who intervened on behalf of the student.

On July 12, Gujarat Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma appointed the three-member committee to probe the incident.

The committee, headed by former Union Minister YK Alagh, submitted its report a few days back, blaming varsity authorities for failing to stop the hooliganism.

The committee has also recommended that Panikker be reinstated and Chandramohan’s work be re-assessed for his final examination.

On Tuesday, Panikker told HT that he has not seen the report, nor has he got any reinstatement letter. “But I am thankful to the Governor for appointing a committee to bring out the truth about the incident.”

Soon after his release on bail, Chandramohan left for his home in Andhra Pradesh. He did not return to Vadodara. Panikker has remained in suspension since then.

Alagh refused to comment on the contents of the report as it is with the Governor.

But he told HT that the committee had spoken to many people and taken into consideration the documents, affidavits and notifications made available by the police commissioner and others. “We have also taken the views of the external examiners who had assessed the paintings concerned,” said Alagh.