Central University of Kerala suspends asst prof for calling RSS, BJP proto-fascists

The assistant professor was taking an online class on fascism and Nazism.
Kerala's Central University Campus in Kasaragode
Kerala's Central University Campus in Kasaragode
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An assistant professor was suspended by the Central University of Kerala for referring to the RSS and the BJP as proto-fascist organisations during an online class on fascism and Nazism. Gilbert Sebastian, an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations, was suspended by Vice Chancellor H Venkateshwarlu. The suspension came after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student outfit affiliated to the RSS, had raised a complaint against the assistant professor. The  student organisation had also threatened a massive protest if no action was taken against Gilbert.

Vinod Karuvarakund, a member of the national monitoring committee on education under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, had also complained against Gilbert Sebastian alleging that he was indoctrinating students by spewing hatred and poison against the Narendra Modi government.

The controversial online class was held on April 19. In the online class, Gilbert allegedly said that the Sangh Parivar in India can be considered as a proto-fascist organisation. He pointed to Spain under General Franco, Portugal under Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, Argentina under Juvan Peron, Chile under Augusto Pinoche, the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Hutu govverment in Rwanda as examples of proto-fascists. The assistant professor also allegedly criticised the Union government for exporting vaccines at a time when India needs it the most.

Following the complaints, the Vice Chancellor had set up a three-member internal committee to investigate the allegations against the assistant professor. KP Suresh, Dean of Academics, MS John, professor in the Department of IR and Politics and Dr Muralidharan Nambiar, Controller of Examination, were the members of the internal committee.

Earlier in 2018, another associate professor Prasad Pannian from the Central University of Kerala’s Department of English and Comparative Literature was suspended for criticizing the university’s decision against a Dalit scholar. Prasad Pannian had at the time criticised the university's decision to file a police complaint against a student for breaking the glass pane of a fire alarm. However, the Kerala High Court later ordered Prasad Pannian be reinstated to his post in the university.

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