Home Trending IIT Bombay Fines Students ₹1.2 Lakh Each for Ramayana Skit

IIT Bombay Fines Students ₹1.2 Lakh Each for Ramayana Skit

by Mohammad Naseemaa
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IIT Bombay fined eight students over a controversial play called ‘Raahovan,’ which was performed during the institute’s Performing Arts Festival (PAF) on March 31. The play was believed to parody the Hindu epic Ramayana and sparked significant controversy.

Some students filed complaints, alleging that the play contained disrespectful references to Hindu beliefs and deities. They claimed it mocked important characters and cultural values in the name of promoting feminism. The complaints led to a disciplinary meeting on May 8, with penalties announced on June 4.

The institute fined four students ₹1.2 lakh each, almost the cost of a semester’s tuition. Four other students were fined ₹40,000 each. Graduating students faced extra penalties, including a ban from receiving gymkhana awards, and junior students were barred from hostel facilities.

The fines are due by July 20, 2024, at the office of the Dean of Student Affairs. The institute warned that failing to pay the fines would lead to further penalties.

The controversy caught attention on social media when the ‘IIT B for Bharat’ group condemned the play on April 8, accusing it of mocking Lord Ram and the Ramayana. The group shared video clips from the performance, alleging that the students misused academic freedom to ridicule revered figures.

Viral videos showed students performing scenes inspired by Ramayana characters. In one clip, a student playing Sita praised her “kidnapper” and the place she was taken to.

“We welcome IIT Bombay’s action against those involved in ‘Raahovan,’ which depicted the Ramayana disrespectfully,” the group stated on social media platform X. “We urge the administration to set guidelines to ensure no religion is ridiculed under the guise of freedom of expression on campus.”

Some groups supported the institute’s disciplinary actions, while others criticized it as an attack on free speech.

“I always thought educational institutions should be safe spaces for voicing opinions. Sadly, even IITs are no longer safe,” wrote one user on X.

“This is outrageous. Students shouldn’t be fined for being disrespectful to any religion in colleges. Colleges should be places where one can freely mock religion. IIT Bombay must take back this decision,” wrote another.

The Performing Arts Festival is an annual event at IIT Bombay, showcasing student talent in various art forms.

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