There seems to no end to the travails of Mysore’s Dalit professor who is in prison for “insulting Ram”. On 17 June, a Mysore court had remanded B.P. Mahesh Chandra Guru in judicial custody in a case filed on 3 January 2015, when a Hindutva outfit lodged a complaint against the professor, alleging that he had “insulted Lord Ram”. After spending three days in jail, Prof Guru moved a bail petition on June 20. But after the police told the court that another year-old case against him was pending, the court turned down his bail plea. In the new case, Guru and three others have been accused of “hurting religious sentiments” although the police have yet to arrest the other accused.
Meanwhile, Mysore University has suspended him. Prof Rangappa, vice-chancellor of the university, told FORWARD Press that a meeting of the university syndicate on Tuesday (21 June) morning decided to take this action against Prof Guru.
What do jurists say?
The court had remanded Prof Guru in judicial custody on 17 June stating that he had not appeared for two earlier hearings in the case. Prof Guru had told the court that he was unable to attend the hearings because he had to attend to his academic duties. Nihal Singh, a lawyer who practises in Bombay High Court, said, “The court could have avoided sending Prof Guru to jail. The accused himself appeared in court and explained why he could not attend the two earlier hearings. In such circumstances, in view of the fact that he has a government job, the court could have avoided sending him to jail. In fact, these could have been enough grounds to not send him to jail.”
The question is whether right from the court to the university all institutions are rather too proactive on the issue. This question is important because of late, we can see a pattern emerging in the country.
While on the one hand, rationalist Dalitbahujan thinkers have intensified their opposition to the cultural conditioning of the people, especially Dalitbahujans, through brahmanical myths, on the other hand brahmanical Hindutva forces have turned more aggressive. The big row kicked up by the Union Human Resources Development Minister over the so-called “insult of Goddess Durga” in Parliament must have given a fillip to these forces. In Hyderabad, Prof Kancha Ilaiah was booked for “hurting the feelings of Hindus” and an attempt was made to arrest him. In Manpur town of Chhattisgarh, Vivek Kumar, central convener of All India Mulnivasi Central Sangh, was arrested after he posted a comment on Devi Durga on his Facebook wall. Hinduvadi miscreants had indulged in vandalism on the issue and called for a bandh. The police picked up Vivek Kumar saying it feared an eruption of violence. He was released on bail recently after a 70-day incarceration. And now has come the harassment of Prof Guru.