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Anger Grows Against Dr. Sandeep Pandey's Termination

Newsclick Report

Several academics, parliamentarians and civil society members have come forward in support of Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and Visiting Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT-BHU. Dr Pandey’s contract was prematurely terminated by the BHU administration without their citing any specific reason. Dr Pandey has taught at the prestigious central varsity for the past two and a half years. His contract was to end in July.  Some 1,500 students of IIT-BHU signed a petition protesting the dismissal and gave it to the university's dean of academic affairs. An online petition requests President Pranab Mukherjee, who is Visitor of BHU, to set up an impartial enquiry into the matter. Dr Pandey has been sacked by the Banaras Hindu University on the verbal charges of being a “Naxalite”, engaging in “anti-national” activities and screening a banned documentary on the campus while nothing of this sort has been given in return. 


Dr Pandey is Vice President of the Socialist Party and leads the National Alliance of People’s Movements as its co-founder. He has served as an advisor to the Indian government’s Central Advisory Board for Education. A staunch critic of the communal policies of the RSS, Dr Pandey has led peace marches from India to Pakistan. In 2002, he marched from Chitrakoot to Ayodhya in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage, to spread the message of peace and unity. The action taken by the BHU administration adds a new name to the list of academic institutions that have faced similar situations since the formation of the NDA government. The strike in FTII, appointments in ICHR and recent threats on the minority status of Jamia Milia Islamia and AMU expose the nefarious agenda of the government, dictated by the RSS. 

The students are demanding the reinstatement of Dr Pandey. In their petition, the students have sought the reason behind Dr Pandey’s termination and the process followed by the Board of Governors of IIT-BHU. In a meeting with the Director, the students raised their concern that the autonomy of IIT-BHU is under threat. The quorum in the board meeting at the time of taking the termination decision was not complete. The decision was also against the opinion of the Director. According to the press release issued by the Socialist Party, “Only four of the nine Board members were present in the meeting when this decision was forced by BHU's VC on the IIT-BHU Director. None of the Board members were informed in advance that this issue would be discussed in the meeting.” The students have asked the Director if he had established the validity of the allegations against Prof Pandey before arriving at such a harsh decision. So far there has been no response. Meanwhile many students are holding peaceful demonstrations every day in front of Director's office. 

Besides the students’ agitation on campus, several people’s organizations such as the Rihai Manch, Khudai Khidmatgar, Humsafar - Support Centre for Women, Socialist Mazdoor Sangathan, Sangatin, Sanatkada, Health Watch Forum, Yuva Tarang, Asha Parivar, National Alliance of People’s Movements, People's Union for Civil Liberties, Socialist Party (India), Dynamic Action Group, Yuva Shakti Sangathan, Sangatin Mahila Mazdoor Sangathan and Students Islamic Organisation have held sit-in demonstrations and peace marches in support of Dr Pandey in Varanasi, Delhi, Lucknow, Allahabad, Unnao, Kannauj and Mau. In a statement they said, "Dr. Pandey’s termination by IIT BHU in adhoc and undemocratic manner is a part of the disturbing trend of intolerance against diverse views under present BJP government. It shows government’s inclination towards communalization of education and restriction of space for free expressions in India’s academic institutions.” 

Two newly elected Gram Pradhans from Sitapur also came in support at the demonstration in Lucknow. In Hardoi a memorandum was given to Smt. Smriti Irani, Minister of HRD, through the district magistrate on January 10. In Kannauj a petition was sent to the President of India through the subdivisional magistrate on January 12 demanding an enquiry into the charges levelled against Dr Pandey, and, if the charges are found false, his reinstatement and the vice-chancellor's expulsion. 

An online petition ( and campaign is going on in support of Dr. Pandey. About 900 people from different parts of India have signed the online petition. It has been endorsed by 3 Members of Parliament (MPs), several academicians from premier national institutes and universities, and eminent citizens and social activists. The petition requests the President of India in the capacity of ‘The Visitor’ at IIT BHU to set up an impartial enquiry into the premature termination of Dr. Pandey’s contract and into the baseless charges of being ‘anti-national’ leveled by the VC without establishing any proof or conducting any investigation or due process. 

Prominent endorsers of the online petition are: 


Dharamveer Gandhi, M.P. Lok Sabha

Ali Anwar, M.P. Rajya Sabha

Harivansh, M.P. Rajya Sabha 


Dr. A K Mukherjee, Dean of Student Affairs and Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, IIT BHU, Varanasi

Dr. R K Mandal, Professor & Head - Dept of Metallurgical Engineering, IIT-BHU, Varanasi

Prof. Anand Kumar, former Professor of Sociology, JNU

Prof. Dr Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi

Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University

Prof. Amit Bhaduri - Professor (Of' Clear fame) at Pavia University Italy and CSD New Delhi

Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy - Delhi University

Prof. Nadini Sunder - Delhi University

Dr. Achin Vanaik (Retired Professor and Former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Delhi)

Dr. Raja Mohanty, Professor, Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Shishir Jha, Professor, School of Management, IIT Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Naresh K. Chandiramani, Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Supratik Chakraborty, Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Om Damani, Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Dipankar, Visiting Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Bombay, Mumbai

Dr. Deepak Gupta, Professor, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur, Kanpur

Dr. Rahul Varman, Professor and Head, Dept. of Industrial Management and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

Dr. Suchitra Mathur, Faculty, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur

Dr. Manmohan Pandey, Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Guwahati

Dr. Sumeet Agarwal, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi

Dr. Suresh Devasahayam, Professor of Bioengineering, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore

Dr. Vidyanand Jha, Professor, Behavioural Sciences, IIM Calcutta, Kolkata

Dr. Rohit Varman, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) - Calcutta, Kolkata

Dr. Shiva Shankar, Professor at Chennai Mathematical Institute, Chennai

Dr. Venu Madhav Govindu, Faculty, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru

Dr. Himanshu Pandey, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Dr. Dipa Sinha, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi

Dr. Meghna Pansare - Assistant Professor - Shivaji University

Dr. Meher Engineer, West Bengal, Chairperson, AIFRTE; Ex-President, Indian Academy of Social Science; Kolkata

Prof. Wasi Ahmed, Bihar, Former Joint Secretary, AIFUCTO; Patna

Sri Prabhakar Arade, Maharashtra, President, AIFETO; Kolhapur

Prof. G. Haragopal, Andhra Pradesh, National Fellow, ICSSR; TISS, Hyderabad

Prof. Madhu Prasad, Delhi, formerly Dept. of Philosophy, Zakir Husain College, Delhi University

Prof. K. Chakradhar Rao, Telengana, Dept. of Economics, Osmania University, Hyderabad

Prof. K. M. Shrimali, Delhi, Formerly Dept. of History, Delhi University

Dr. Anand Teltumbde, West Bengal, Professor of Management, IIT, Kharagpur

Pamela Philipose, Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Social Science Research

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Nuclear Physicist, Lahore

Dr. Zia Mian,  Physicist and Nuclear Policy Expert, Princeton University, USA

Dr. William Gould, Professor of Indian History, School of History, University of Leeds, UK 


Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar, former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court

Admiral L Ramdas, former Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy

Madhu Bhaduri India's former ambassador to Belarus, Lithuania, and Portugal

Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Swami Agnivesh, Arya Samaj scholar, social activist and former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)

Anand Patwardhan, documentary film-maker

Vrinda Grover, senior advocate and human rights activist

Subhashini Ali, ex-MP member Polit Bureau CPI(M)

Yogendra Yadav, Swaraj Abhiyan leader, psephologist, and academic

Prashant Bhushan, Swaraj Abhiyan leader, senior lawyer, and human rights activist

Nandita Das, film actor, director, and activist

Lalita Ramdas, former Chairperson of Greenpeace International and a founding member of Greenpeace India, former President of International Council for Adult Education

Dr Ram Puniyani, former Professor of Biomedical Engineering at IITBombay, human rights activist associated with All-India Secular Forum, 2006 recipient of Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration

Richa Singh, President, Allahabad University Students Union, Allahabad

Harsh Mander, Director of Center for Equity Studies, social worker and Special Commissioner to the Supreme Court on Right to Food case

Dr Bhalchandra Kango, CPI leader

Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan

Lingraj Azad – Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, NAPM, Odisha;

Dr. Sunilam, Aradhna Bhargava - Kisan Sangharsh Samiti

Meera – Narmada Bachao Andolan, NAPM, MP;

Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, Prasad Bagwe - NAPM, Maharashtra;

Gabriele Dietrich, Geetha Ramakrishnan – Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, TN;

C R Neelkandan – NAPM Kerala;

P Chennaiah & Ramakrishnan Raju – NAPM Andhra Pradesh,

Arundhati Dhuru, Richa Singh - NAPM, UP;

Sister Celia - Domestic Workers Union

Rukmini VP, Garment Labour Union, NAPM, Karnataka;

Vimal Bhai - Matu Jan Sangathan

Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand;

Anand Mazgaonkar, Krishnakant - Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat;

Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan – Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan

Mahendra Yadav – Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar;

Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar,

JS Walia, NAPM Haryana;

Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan;

Amitava Mitra and Sujato Bhadra, NAPM West Bengal;

B S Rawat – Jan Sangharsh Vahini

Rajendra Ravi, Madhuresh Kumar and Shabnam Shaikh – NAPM, Delhi,

Brother Varghese and Subhash Lomate, Jai Kisan Andolan 

Vandana Mishra, President, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), UP

Leo Saldanha, Coordinator, Environment Support Group (ESG), Bangalore

Nityanand Jayaraman, Vettiver Collective, Chennai

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