The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara on Wednesday expelled a student of fine arts for a painting allegedly depicting Hindu deities in an objectionable manner, PTI reported.
Vice Chancellor Vijay Kumar Srivastava said that show-cause notices were issued to other students and a professor for their involvement in the project, the head of fine arts department and the dean of the faculty.
A nine-member fact-checking committee had submitted a report on Tuesday, following which action was initiated against them.
“The student [who made the painting in question] has been expelled,” Srivastava said, reported PTI. “Other students have been issued show-cause notices, and action will be taken on the basis of their responses. The teacher under whose guidance the project was carried out, as well as the HoD and Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts have also been issued show-cause notices.”
On May 5, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad held a protest at the university’s Faculty of Fine Arts, where an art exhibition was slated to take place.
One of the artworks used clippings of newspaper reports about rape to create cutouts of gods and goddesses. Another design was a photo collage, in which protestors alleged that the Ashoka pillar had been positioned in an obscene manner.
A student was booked after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad member Jayvirsinh Raulji filed a complaint.
The case has been filed under Sections 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (uttering words with intent to hurt religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code.
On May 5, the protestors alleged that the two artworks were “distasteful and hurtful to religious sentiments”. They accused the dean of breaking a resolution from 2007, which was passed after a similar incident involving a university student.
In 2007, Niraj Jain, a member of the Hindu Jagran Manch, had filed a complaint against another student from the university, Srilamanthula Chandramohan, for alleged objectionable artworks that he had made. Following protests against the artworks, the university had decided to withhold his evaluation. The university has still not awarded him his master’s degree.
A first information report had been filed at the time against Chandramohan under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. The case is still pending.
In February 2018, Chandramohan had allegedly set fire to the university vice-chancellor’s office. He was arrested and later granted bail.