TISS suspends student for screening controversial documentaries

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has suspended student leader Ramadas Prini Sivanandan for two years due to various incidents, including screening a banned BBC documentary, organising controversial events, and participating in protests.

| Updated: 22 April, 2024 12:45 pm IST

New Delhi: The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has suspended student leader Ramadas Prini Sivanandan for two years due to various incidents, including screening a banned BBC documentary, organising controversial events, and participating in protests. 

Ramadas, also the general secretary of the Progressive Student Federation (PSF), is barred from all TISS campuses, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, and Tuljapur.

The administration issued a notice on April 18, citing Ramadas’s involvement in activities violating the institute’s disciplinary rules, such as conducting a Bhagat Singh memorial lecture with contentious speakers, staging late-night protests outside the director’s bungalow, and promoting the banned BBC documentary on social media.

TISS released a statement citing, “Ramadas called up students of TISS to assemble for the screening of the BBC documentary which was banned by the government of India being a propaganda movie by the West”.

READ MORE : DYFI to screen ‘Ram Ke Naam’ amid accusations of BJP’s religious-political mix

A committee found Ramadas violating the institute’s code of conduct and recommended suspension and debarment. Ramadas can appeal within 30 days. Ramadas, pursuing a PhD at the School of Development Studies, is known for advocating social justice.

The suspension has sparked outrage among student groups, with PSF condemning it as an attack on student rights and freedom of speech. PSF stated that the administration’s actions support the ruling BJP government, especially after the government’s takeover last year and new administrative appointments. “These actions of the administration highlight a trend of active support for the ruling BJP government at the cost of the future of students coming from marginalized backgrounds,” the PSF said in a press statement.

A show-cause notice on March 16 highlighted Ramadas’s participation as a speaker at a Parliament March organized at Jantar Mantar under the banner of the United Students of India, a joint platform of 16 student organisations.

ALSO READ : JNUSU-JNU Showdown Over Ram Ke Naam, Will The Screening Happen Inside Campus?

TISS mentioned in the statement that Ramadas distributed pamphlets for the screening of the movie “Ram ke Naam” during the Ram Janm Bhoomi Pran Pratishta without the permission of the TISS Administration.

The PSF emphasised Ramadas’s merit as a recipient of the National Fellowship for Scheduled Castes and his efforts in defending student rights and building alliances among student organisations. “Ramadas has unequivocally defended student rights on campus and worked hard to build joint platforms and alliances among all student organisations,” the statement added.

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