A scheduled lecture by renowned writer Devdutt Pattanaik on Friday stirred controversy once again at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. The campus witnessed opposing views among students, with some advocating for the talk and others opposing it. Despite a reduced campus population due to Diwali vacations, the lecture proceeded.
Reports indicate that Vivek Vichar Manch's Maharashtra chapter wrote to the Mumbai police commissioner, urging action against those allegedly "vitiating the campus' environment" with "divisive policies."
Students' complaint sparks campus concerns
In a significant development, students from IIT-Bombay filed a police complaint against a professor and a guest lecturer accused of expressing support for Hamas and terrorists during a coursework lecture on November 6. Master's student Omkar Supekar lodged the complaint against Professor Sharmistha Saha and Sudhanva Deshpande, known for his association with Jana Natya Manch.
Omkar Supekar, a master's student, voiced concerns, stating that objections were raised before the event, but the administration did not address them. In another instance, a PhD student, in an open letter, highlighted frequent political discussions in classrooms, covering topics such as organizing protests, criticizing the government, and allegedly maligning Hinduism.
As tensions escalate, Vivek Vichar Manch plans to organize a protest at the college's main gate on today. The controversy sheds light on the challenges of balancing free speech with maintaining a conducive learning environment on college campuses.