HYDERABAD: Artistes here have expressed shock and dismay at the arrest of a student from the State Chandramohan and suspension of a senior faculty member Shivaji Panikkar, following vandalism by a mob on the eve of an exhibition of art work on the Maharaja Sayajirao University at Baroda five days ago.
Susie Tharu, former Dean, School of Critical Humanities, Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, told a meeting that the attack led by a VHP activist Niraj Jain violated democratic space available for discussion on a university campus. She said the university administration committed a serious lapse by allowing police to arrest Chandramohan on the basis of an unfounded complaint. Moreover, the administration failed in its duty to nurture the creative talent of a student from a lower class. Baishali Ghosh, an external examiner who was present when the incident took place, said the attack was unprovoked as there was nothing explicit about the picture of Christ as depicted by Chandramohan. Mr. Jain created a scene not by seeing it himself but by hearing someone talk adversely.
Rasna Bhushan, an alumni of the fine arts department of the university, said the attack undermined the credibility of the department for encouraging critical thought. Rekha Lahoti of Kalakriti Art Gallery that sponsored Chandramohan for study at the university on a fellowship said he was selected from out of several aspirants on the basis of merit and social background.