New Delhi: A senior faculty member of a premier media institute resigned on Friday alleging that he was "targeted" by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for supporting the protests over Dalit student Rohith Vemula's suicide.
Amit Sengupta, an Associate Professor in the department of English Journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), quit after an order was issued transferring him to the premier media school's campus in Odisha's Dhenkanal district, which he slammed as a "political decision".
"I have been targeted because I supported the solidarity protest for Rohith Vemula in the campus, organised independently by students of IIMC in which other faculty members too participated... I have been targeted also because I supported the JNU and FTII students," Mr Sengupta wrote in his resignation letter.
Refuting allegations of politically targeting the IIMC faculty, a senior Information and Broadcasting Ministry official claimed that certain acts of Mr Sengupta suggesting "indiscipline" had come to the notice of the authorities including his attempts to "politicise" the campus through posts on social media.
However, the official also added that Mr Sengupta's services had only been "temporarily" placed in Dhenkanal in view of shortage of faculty on that campus.
Significantly, the decision to transfer Mr Sengupta came within days of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry proposing a set of institutional mechanism including a code of conduct for teachers and employees that among other things included a "ban" on political activity by the faculty on the campus. The ministry-run IIMC has been in the news in the recent past over students alleging "casteism" against their peers belonging to the Scheduled Cast and Scheduled Tribe community.
The institute conducted a probe and ordered the expulsion of a student from its hostel here for three weeks for posting "offensive and insulting" remarks on social media against students belonging to dalit community.
Another student, a Dalit and a complainant in the case, has also been expelled from the IIMC hostel for a week for allegedly using "indecent and vulgar language" against a faculty member on a Whatsapp group.