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Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey teaching contract terminated in ‘national interest’ #WTFnews

Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey was working as visiting faculty in the department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-BHU.Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey was working as visiting faculty in the department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-BHU.
Lucknow: Its official now. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) terminated the service contract of Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey as a visiting faculty to the department of chemical engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), as the IIT-BHU board of governors felt that Pandey’s classroom teaching was “against national interest and may disturb communal harmony as well as encourage students to take law into their hands.” This was revealed through an RTI query filed by Pandey.

The query also revealed that the contract was terminated on the complaint of an MA political science student.

Pandey was hired by the IIT-BHU in August 2013 for the period of three years to

teach subjects — control systems, process instrumentation and human values He introduced a subject ‘development studies’ after getting it duly approved as a humanities option at BTech III. The decision to terminate Pandey’s services was taken in the BoG meeting on December 21, 2015, and the order was issued on January 6, 2016. It is for the first time in BHU’s history action was taken against a teacher on a complaint by a person who was not his student or related anyway to the course he taught.

The order, however, did not mention any reason. As a result, Pandey filed an application under RTI seeking minutes of resolution of the BoG. The BHU has provided him the copy of the resolution but not answered why he was not given any opportunity to present his defense.

According to the copy of the resolution, vice-chancellor Prof GC Tripathi, who is also chairperson of the BoG, brought the matter for discussion in the meeting ‘as any other’ item, which means it was not part of the agenda which is circulated in advance to members.

The chairperson informed the members that he received a letter dated October 15, 2015, from one Avinash, an MA II student of political science, making serious allegations against Pandey’s teaching methodology and content, particularly in the development studies subject.

One of the major allegations levelled by the student was related to Pandey’s decision to screen banned BBC documentary on Nirbhaya rape case on March 11, 2015. Though the screening was cancelled following objections, the complainant alleged that an oral discussion on gender violence was held in the classroom and on behalf of Pandey, one Devensh Mittal posted the YouTube link of the documentary on university intranet without taking permission of the authorities. Raising questions over Pandey’s credentials and purpose behind the decision to screen and hold discussion on the documentary, the complainant said: “Does the course require teaching students how to defy law of the land?”

The complainant also alleged that there is no requirement of taking attendance, classes and examination in the development studies course run by Pandey and students get “A” grade without any exam. Pandey also teaches students how to participant in dharna, makes students to discuss anti-national topics, such as Kashmir should be declared an independent nation' among others, he alleged in the complaint and attached some articles whichshowed Pandey’s connection and sympathy with Naxalite’ movement.


Apart from some newspaper clippings against Pandey, the V-C also tabled in the meeting copies of some Pandey’s emails on lectures organized under “Acharya Narendra Dev discussion/film series’ and claimed that topics of lectures were either political in nature or against national interest.

According to the minutes of the meeting, BoG members were of the opinion that the act of posting Nirbhaya documentary falls under the category of cyber crime and topic covered by Pandey in development studies classroom were against national interest, may disturb communal harmony and encourage students to take law into their hands. The members decided to terminate Pandey’s services immediately after serving one month notice and authorized V-C to constitute an inquiry committee to look into the complaints lodged by the student.


Pandey, however, rubbished all allegations and described his removal as a RSS conspiracy. “Action was taken against me on a complaint by a person who was not a student of IIT or related anyway to the course. His Facebook shows he works for the RSS,” he said. Pandey’s removal saw protests from across the country. “The BoG took decision against me based on rumors floated and sustained by Sangh Parivar for past many years without getting any inquiry conducted and giving me chance to clarify my position,” he said.

On charges related to banned documentary, Pandey said “The charge of posting the documentary banned by the Government, falling under cyber crime, is not a serious charge as the film was never screened publicly. It was there on ‘YouTube’ for anybody to watch. The subject of the film is violence against women.” Further, he said, The alacrity shown by the university authorities in preventing the screening of this film was missing when inquiry was conducted against a professor of management studies after a complaint was filed against him by a female student of the same department accusing him of sexual misconduct last year. “The professor’s suspension is likely to be revoked as the University Complaints Committee has not found him guilty even though the female student has filed a FIR and the Professor is facing a judicial trial,” he said.

Sandeep Pandey files RTI application seeking reason for his ouster from IIT-BHU

File photo of Magasaysay Awardee Sandeep Pandey. (TOI photo: Manoj Chhabra)File photo of Magasaysay Awardee Sandeep Pandey. (TOI photo: Manoj Chhabra)
VARANASI: Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey on Saturday filed an application under RTI Act, 2005 with IIT-BHU seeking minutes of Board of Governors meeting of IIT-BHU held on December 21 in which the decision was taken to terminate his contract as visiting faculty in the department of chemical engineering. He also sought the reasons for termination of his contract.

A group students and supporters of Pandey went to the office of IIT-BHU PRO with his application. In his application he also wanted to know under RTI Act whether the discussion about him was on the agenda of the meeting, and whether the decision was taken in the presence of required quorum of Board of Governors.

Earlier on Friday the activists of Swaraj Abhiyan held a signature campaign near the main gate of Banaras Hindu University in Lanka area in his support. Besides, the National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) also began an online petition to the President Pranab Mukherjee with an appeal to set up an enquiry into termination of Pandey’s teaching contract by IIT-BHU. Pandey received the notice from the IIT-BHU on January 6 that his services as visiting faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering stand terminated after the expiry of one month from the date of issue of this order

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