Following outrage from the student community, the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Calicut has put on hold the controversial suspension order issued to a student for participating in a protest on January 22, against the celebration of the consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The protest took place inside the campus on the day of the temple inauguration, during which clashes broke out between two groups of students, one that was celebrating the event and another group that was protesting. The protesting students, which included the student who was suspended, shouted slogans and held placards that read, ‘India is not Rama Rajya’.
Vysakh Premkumar, a fourth year Btech student was issued a suspension order on Wednesday, January 31, by the Dean of Students’ Welfare of NIT-C, accusing him of “unlawful gathering” which resulted in “campus unrest” as well as “lowering the esteem of the institute both inside and outside the campus through his irresponsible behaviour”.
Vysakh’s suspension had triggered widespread protests on the campus, which saw the participation of most of the major students unions such as the Students Federation of India (SFI) and Kerala Students Union (KSU). The students staged a sit-in protest at the main entrance of the campus, chanting slogans of ‘Azadi’ and ‘Strike on’, forcing the authorities to rethink their decision on suspending the student.
Following the protests, the Institute issued an order on Thursday evening which said, “As per the directives of the competent authority, the decision to suspend Vyaskh Premkumar (B190622EC) is hereby placed on hold until the appellant authority decides the appeal submitted by the concerned student”.
In one of the videos of the incident which took place on January 22, it can be seen that there was a mild physical altercation between two sets of students, in which one group can be heard shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while the other hits back with chants of ‘India is not Rama Rajya’. While several students can be seen taking part in the ruckus, it was only one student who was suspended. According to an alumnus of NIT Calicut, this could also be seen as the institute making an example of the student.