TISS suspends PhD student for 'activities not in interest of nation'

In a notice sent to Mr. Prinisivanandan dated March 7, TISS referred to his role in screening the documentary ‘Ram Ke Naam’ as a “mark of dishonour and protest” against the Ram Mandir idol consecration in Ayodhya

Updated - April 21, 2024 12:03 pm IST

Published - April 21, 2024 12:02 pm IST - Mumbai

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai has suspended a PhD student for two years for allegedly indulging in activities which were "not in the interest of the nation", and referred to instances like him participating in a protest in Delhi under the PSF-TISS banner.

Ramadas Prinisivanandan (30), who is pursuing his doctorate in Development Studies, has also been barred from entering the TISS campuses in Mumbai, Tuljapur, Hyderabad and Guwahati.

In a notice sent to Mr. Prinisivanandan dated March 7, TISS referred to his role in screening the documentary 'Ram Ke Naam' on January 26 as a "mark of dishonour and protest" against the Ram Mandir idol consecration in Ayodhya.

It said that while participating in the protest in Delhi under the banner PSF-TISS, the institute's name was "misused", which wrongfully created an impression that the PSF had some association with the TISS and its views were endorsed by the institute.

PSF refers to Progressive Student Forum, a Left-leaning organisation.

Mr. Prinisivanandan has also been accused of screening a banned BBC documentary on the TISS campus last January as well as organising the Bhagat Singh Memorial Lecture by inviting "controversial guest speakers".

"Your activities are not in the interest of the nation. Being a public institution, TISS cannot permit or tolerate its students indulging in such activities which are anti-national and bring a bad name to the nation. Hence all such activities fall under the category of serious criminal offence," the March 7 notice read.

These issues are "very serious and it is discernible that you are intentionally and deliberately indulging in such unlawful activities in the name of freedom of speech and expression," the notice added.

A subsequent communication dated April 18 informed him that the institute's disciplinary committee had recommended his suspension for two years, and he shall be barred from entering all campuses of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Mr. Prinisivanandan, who hails from Kerala, told PTI that he will appeal against the suspension before the institute's internal authority.

In a statement issued on late Saturday evening, the TISS claimed that despite repeated verbal and written advisories from its administration to prioritise academic commitments, Mr. Prinisivanandan failed to comply.

"He continued to overstay unlawfully in his allotted hostel at the TISS, Mumbai campus, ignoring multiple reminders from the administration," it alleged.

His "unlawful overstay" deprived other deserving PhD scholars of hostel accommodation, the statement claimed.

The BBC documentary allegedly screened by Mr. Prinisivanandan had been banned by the Government of India as being a propaganda movie of the western media, while the documentary 'Ram ke Naam', also "deemed propaganda by the Government of India," was not sanctioned for viewing during the Pran Pratishthan Diwas, the TISS said.

The Progressive Student Forum with which Mr. Prinisivanandan is associated claimed that the march in Delhi referred to by the TISS was related to "anti-student policies in the form of the National Education Policy".

It also claimed that the Bhagat Singh Memorial Lecture has had the distinction of inviting well-known academics, scholars and human rights activists, including two Ramon Magsaysay awardees.

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