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Baroda Protest

Protest in Chennai

Artists gathered at Chennai’s Hues Gallery and debated the issue of artist’s freedom and signed a memorandum demanding justice for all those who suffer from the Baroda incident. Jayashree Venkatadurai reports.

As part of the nationwide protests relating to the attack on artistic and academic freedom in the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University Baroda, concerned citizens, artists and intellectuals gathered in the Hues Art Gallery, Chennai at 6pm on the 14th of May. Peer Mohamed the Director of the gallery managed to reach as many people as possible and inspite of the short notice the turn out was good. Jayashree Venkatadurai who had just finished her Masters in Art History and Aesthetics in Baroda started the discussion by reading out a detailed report of the events that unfolded in Baroda. Geeta Doctor, Eminent Art Critic made a plea for sustained campaigning against such incidents. Prof.Chandrasekaran Eminent artist and Principal of Government College of Fine Arts, Chennai condemned the untoward incidents in Baroda and came forward with many suggestions for future course of action. R.M Palaniappan, Regional Secretary of Lalit Kala Academy made a brief statement in support of the protest movement of the Artists.

Dr.M.S.S. Pandian, well known scholar and academician spoke in detail about the intellectual contributions of Prof. Shivaji Panikkar, Dean of Faculty of Fine Arts, who has been suspended. He also emphasised that a movement should be built and the struggle continue until Prof. Shivaji Panikkar is reinstated and all charges against Chandramohan dropped. Rajan Krishnan, Research Scholar emphasised the need to preserve academic freedom and condemned the rude violation of the academic space in Baroda. He also called for broadbasing and co-ordinating the protest movements. Ramani, a critically acclaimed short films and documentary maker pointed out the political motivations behind the attack on artistic and academic freedom. A free flowing discussion ensued in which many of those in the gathering participated. The meeting ended with overall consensus about continuing the campaign against the attitude of the Administration of M.S. University of Baroda and the Government of the State of Gujarat. A memorandum has been signed by all those present and is being sent to relevant statutory authorities.   The memorandum demands:
1. All charges against Chandramohan be dropped.
2. The suspension of Prof. Shivaji Panikkar revoked and status-que-ante restored in the Faculty of Fine Arts.
3. Legal Action to be initiated against the Tres-passers and the offenders.


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