Led by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a majority of students of the Mangalore University’s postgraduate programme in Journalism and Communication boycotted classes and staged a protest in the campus on Monday, demanding the suspension or transfer of M.P. Umeshchandra, professor in journalism.
Students met in-charge Vice-Chancellor K.K. Achari and demanded immediate action against Mr. Umeshchandra. However, Mr. Achari cited procedural issues and asked for a week’s time. Mr. Achari told The Hindu that Mr. Umeshchandra must be given a “fair chance to defend himself”.
However, the ABVP has decided to intensify the stir and has called for a university bandh on January 20.
A section of students alleged that being a Dalit, Mr. Umeshchandra was expressing “extreme Dalit views” in class, was “anti-Brahmin” and “anti-Hindu”.
They said that Mr. Umeshchandra often attacked Sangh Parivar organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, the ABVP and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A few students, however, stayed away from the protest and expressed their support to Mr. Umeshchandra. “As journalism students, we should be open to debates and discussions. Unfortunately, most of the students in the class do not think that way,” said Kevin Mendonca.
Malik Shafiq said, “He does not deviate from the curriculum. He discusses current affairs and that is very important for us as students of journalism.”
Mr. Umeshchandra told The Hindu, “I love my students and hold no grudge against them since they have been misled by some political forces. I am a firm believer in the Constitution and will continue to inculcate the right values in my students without compromising on my principles.” He said that he would give a detailed explanation to the Registrar of the University.