Published: 22nd May 2021
Do not deny freedom of speech in academia: CPI(M) MP asks Pokhriyal to revoke CUK prof's suspension
Sebastian, an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and Politics, had criticised the central government's vaccine policy in a lecture of his and had called the Sangh Parivar
The Central University of Kerala's suspension of its faculty Dr Gilbert Sebastian has kicked up a storm among the people of academia and politics. Now, CPI(M)'s Rajya Sabha M P Dr V Sivadasan has written to the Minister of Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, asking him to immediately revoke his suspension.
Sebastian's suspension was finalised on Monday, based on the report of a committee of the university. Sebastian, an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations and Politics, had criticised the central government's vaccine policy at one of his lectures and had called the Sangh Parivar pro-fascist. Following this, the ABVP unit at the campus had registered complain.
"Education demands a questioning of status quo as this is crucial for evolving responsible citizenship. Freedom of speech cannot be denied to teachers. This act of suspension curtails the intellectual freedom of academics," says Sivadasan, adding, "A classroom should be a space for open discussion where heterogeneous ideas take root." He also asks Pokhriyal to "put an end to the attempts to constrain academic freedom of universities and places of higher learning."
Recently, Congress MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor had also condemned the suspension. "All advocates of academic freedom should raise their voices against the suspension of Prof Gilbert Sebastian by the Central Univ of Kerala for expressing personal political views in his classes. Debate him, don't silence him!" he had tweeted.