The city police arrested nine persons, including seven students, who staged a controversial skit at the Jain (deemed-to-be) University fest, which has now drawn ire from many sections for its allegedly casteist content.
This came hours after the university suspended six students and tendered an unconditional apology, for the skit that reportedly mocked Dalits and B.R. Ambedkar.
A video clip of a portion of the skit, posted by some students on social media, had gone viral.
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The Siddapura police who had registered a case under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, acting on a complaint from a Social Welfare Department official, arrested the seven students, the dean of the college, and the chief programme coordinator on Monday.
The accused have also been booked under Sections 153A, 295A and 149 of the Indian Penal Code, all of which deal with offences for creating enmity between groups in the society. The arrested were produced before a magistrate who remanded them in three days police custody.
Meanwhile, the university issued an unconditional public apology on Monday. “Jain University offers its unconditional apology to all who have been hurt by the skit performed by the students,” the statement said, adding it had made internal inquiries and taken all necessary disciplinary action.
“Jain University and all its centres, which come under its umbrella, have always been known for their secular policies and the institution does not subscribe to any of the views presented in the skit… Certain words used against Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar is strongly condemned and the university on its part totally disagrees and disapproves such views and comments,” the statement read.
However, the university also claimed that “the script of the skit reveals that it deals with ending discrimination in society and bringing equality without being affected by caste, creed, sex or religion of individuals. Although the intention seems to convey the said message, certain specific words used in the skit have unfortunately resulted in objection to the contents of the same and it has led to public outcry”.
The theatre group that staged the skit, The Delroys Boys, also in their statement on social media, following the outrage, claimed that they stood by the marginalised communities.