Kasaragod: Dr Gilbert Sebastian, professor at Central University of Kerala (CUK),Kasarkode who called the current ruling government "fascist" in an online class, got suspended on Monday.
Sebastian, an associate professor in International Relations and Politics in CUK, had mentioned India while naming nations that were under fascist rule while taking an online class "Fascism and Nazism' last month. The issue was under a three-member committee for scrutiny, and it reached this decision under Vice-Chancellor H Venkateshwarlu.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had lodged a complaint on the teacher at the Ministry of Human Resource Department. The MHRD had directed the Vice-Chancellor to launch an enquiry into the issue. But, at first, CUK took the stand that the faculty had not said anything that requires action against him but later changed its stand after ABVP threatened a mass mobilisation to protest. Immense pressure was believed to be over CUK from the centre to take action against the faculty.
The university also reportedly received a complaint from A Vinod Karuvarakundu, a member of the National Monitoring Committee on Education (SCs, STs, Persons with Special Needs and Minority Education) under the centre's education ministry. In his complaint, he alleged that the faculty tried to instill hatred in the minds of first semester MA students for whom Sebastian was taking the class.
Sebastian had also criticised the centre's policy of shipping vaccines to foreign countries, which ended in shortage for the same in India, and said that RSS and BJP are proto-fascists.
Many, including poet K. Satchidanandan, had defended Sebastian and condemned the falling standards of academic freedom in spaces of knowledge. Students Federation of India (SFI), National Students Union of India (NSUI), among various student organisations, also have come to fore defending the faculty.
What the Gilbert Sebastian said during his class
According to a report by The New Indian Express, Gilbert, during an online class held last month (April 19th) in one of the PowerPoint slides said that "The RSS and its affiliate organisation, together called as the Sangh Parivar meaning the Sangh family (including the BJP) in India can also be considered proto-fascist," .
"Proto-fascist movements are those influenced by classical fascist organisations"
In the online class held on Monday(19th April) , he reportedly said Spain under General Franco, Portugal under Salazar, Argentina under Juan Peron, Chile under Pinochet, the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the Hutu ultranationalist and supremacist movement of Rwanda in the early 1990s could be considered as proto-fascist, and posed a question whether India under Narendra Modi since 2014 was one.
The report also says that the assistant professor allegedly criticized the government for exporting vaccines at a time when the country's vaccine needs were not met. "That shows their patriotism," he said, says a report by The New Indian Express.
His PowerPoint slides and the audio of the class were made public later.