Mumbai University sends ex-director Yogesh Soman on forced leave, appoints new one

Mumbai: Following the matter of sending professor Yogesh Soman, director of the Academy of Theatre Arts, on compulsory leave, the Mumbai University (MU) has now appointed Professor Ganesh Chandanshive as the in-charge director.

Chandanshive will take charge of the Academy of Theatre Arts of the varsity with immediate effect.

Soman was sent on forced leave following several protests by students for his alleged derogatory remarks against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The university has set up an inquiry committee to look into the matter.

Chandandive will manage the academy functioning and cater to completing the syllabus. Chandanshive told The Free Press Journal, “If a department does not have a director then the academic side of the department faces problems. Students have to face inconvenience due to the absence of a director. I have been assigned this role to manage the academics, complete the syllabus, get professional teachers, visiting faculty and prepare students as examinations are two months away.”

Students of the Academy of Theatre Arts, Chhatra Bharti Students’ Union and activists of AISF had started the agitation over Soman’s remarks from January 13.

Shridhar Pednekar, Mumbai University unit president of Chhatra Bharti said, “Soman made derogatory comments about Rahul Gandhi and also about women in general on social media. Students harassed by Soman had to undertake sit-in agitation on Kalina campus. We withdrew the strike only after he was sent on leave.”

Shomit Salunkhe, a PhD and professor of Law at the MU, said, “Soman enforced his views which were inclined towards the RSS party. He made unnecessary remarks which irked students and hurt secular perspectives.”

Soman was questioned after he uploaded videos on his social media accounts, in which, he allegedly made derogatory statements against Rahul and Indira Gandhi.

On January 13, this year, Suhas Pednekar, the Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor (VC) issued a letter to the protesting students informing them that Soman had been sent on forced leave while the university has set up a committee to look into the complaints filed by the students.