A protest was held on Saturday outside the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay seeking the arrest of a professor and a guest speaker for allegedly glorifying terrorism while talking about the Palestinian freedom struggle against Israel.
According to the protesters, Professor Sharmistha Saha of the Humanities and Social Sciences department of the prestigious institution and guest speaker Sudhanva Deshpande, during a talk under academic course ‘HS 835 Performance Theory & Praxis’ on November 6, had allegedly spoken highly of “terrorists” and armed rebellion.
Protesters under the aegis of the Vivek Vichar Manch claimed Sudhanva Deshpande had glorified Palestinian terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi, who is allegedly part of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade which has been designated a terror organisation by several countries and had even admitted to meeting him in 2015.
They sought a probe into the phone calls and emails of Sharmistha Saha and Sudhanva Deshpande to find out the motive behind the November 6 talk, adding that the professor should be removed from IIT Bombay.
A student told news agency PTI the talk was a blatant move to indoctrinate those studying at IIT Bombay through hateful and false narratives.
In the letter submitted to police on November 7, some students claimed Sharmistha Saha had used her position inappropriately to invite speakers like Sudhanva Deshpande, who they claimed was a “radical Leftist”, for a virtual talk.
Such events have troubling consequences for the academic integrity and safety of IIT Bombay since they promote ideologies linked to terrorism, the letter submitted to the police claimed.
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