Attack on professor: Fact-finding team demands action against Khopoli’s college principal, police

Image credit: African Freedom of Expression Exchange

A citizens’ fact-finding team has accused the principal of a Khopoli college and the local police for collusion in the victimisation of a professor from the institute.

For merely forwarding a Whatsapp message received by him to a Whatsapp in-group comprising of the principal and teachers of his college concerning the actual birth date of Shivaji, Professor Sunil Waghmare, head of the commerce department of KMC College, Khopoli in Maharashtra was mercilessly thrashed, by “Shiv Premis” inside the college, in collusion with members of the college’s managing committee, on March 17 for allegedly posting “a wrong message about Shivaji Maharaj”.

On arriving at the scene of the incident, the police took no action against any of those responsible for thrashing professor Waghmare. Instead, they pushed the semi-conscious man in the police van, took him to a local hospital for first aid and then to the police station.

An FIR was then registered, not against the attackers but Waghmare under section 295 A for “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

According to the fact-finding team, communal Hindu organisations, including the RSS and Shiv Sena among others had pressurised the police into treating a victim as the accused.

Later the same day, professor Waghmare was suspended for six months pending an enquiry, by the college management on charges of “misconduct, moral turpitude and misuse of social media”.

Professor Waghmare’s repeated pleas that he had merely forwarded a Whatsapp message to the college in-group of principals and teaching staff and his apologies if anyone was offended was of no avail.

The demands of the fact-finding team:

  • The malicious FIR against professor Waghmare must be withdrawn
  • The wrongful suspension of the professor must be immediately withdrawn and his safety ensured.
  • A case under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act must be registered against the college principal. His services must be terminated and proceedings initiated immediately.
  • Independent investigation of the violence unleashed against Waghmare on March 17.
  • Penal action against the police for being mute witness of violence and failure to register a case under the prevention of atrocities Act. 

Read the full report.



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