About 50 former students of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) have written to their alma mater urging it to cancel a panel invitation to former Bastar Inspector General of Police S.R.P. Kalluri who, they said, is "known for his brazen contempt for journalists".
The panel discussion is slated to take place on Saturday at IIMC.
"We feel that IIMC must prevent any individual, known for his brazen contempt for journalists, from using the premises of IIMC which has produced hundreds of thousands of media professionals," the letter, addressed to IIMC Director General K.G. Suresh, read.
Calling Kalluri a "media-baiter IPS officer", the students also cited an admonishment served to the officer by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for his "excesses" as a policeman.
The seminar -- National Journalism in Contemporary Scenario -- is being organised by 'Media Scan', said to be a right-leaning weekly newspaper. The seminar will be preceded by a 'yagna'.
The proposed 'yagna' has also not found any favour among the students who voiced their disapproval, citing the secular credentials of the nation and consequently of the institute.
"Our country is secular and no religious function should happen inside the premises of the institute. It's wrong that such a function (yagna) is being organised in IIMC, and that too in the name of journalism. On top of it, it will be followed by a seminar where IG Kalluri will take part as one of the panelists... He's being invited because of his proximity with the Centre," Prashant, an IIMC alumnus, told IANS.
A faculty member also criticised the 'religious' activity.
"As a public institute we are not supposed to be party to any religious activity. The Constitution doesn't allow us to do anything religious or promote any religion," the faculty member told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The member also cited the "restive" atmosphere prevailing in the institute since the appointment of Suresh, as its Director General (DG).
There was no consultation by the DG on the theme or list of panelists with any of the teachers, the faculty member said.
Bastar Solidarity Network, Delhi Chapter, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union and IIMC students have announced a demonstration to protest the participation of Kalluri.
An official invite was sent to Kalluri on April 12 to take part in the seminar by Media Scan. However, his name is not in the list of panelists in the seminar schedule.
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