Urges Uddhav to withdraw action against professor who slammed Rahul.
Mumbai: A day after the Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh announced strict action against Professor Yogesh Soman, senior BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday demanded that the Maharashtra government revoke Mumbai University’s action against Mr Soman over his criticism of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The former Maharashtra chief minister has also written a letter in this regard to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Mr Soman, who is the director of the university’s Academy of Theatre Arts, was sent on compulsory leave after he criticised Mr Gandhi in a video post. He had slammed Mr Gandhi over the latter’s remark at a rally in Delhi that he would not apologise over his “Rape in India” comment as his name was Rahul Gandhi and “not Rahul Savarkar”.
In his letter to Mr Thackeray, the former chief minister said it was unfortunate that Mr Soman was punished for praising Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the Hindutva ideologue and freedom fighter.
“The action against the professor is maligning the image of Maharashtra. I urge you to intervene and withdraw the action against Yogesh Soman,” Mr Fadnavis, who is now Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly added.
“The action raises a question whether one should praise iconic figures such as Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and Veer Savarkar,” he wrote.
The letter written in Marathi noted that Mr Soman had spoken highly of Savarkar, which led to the NSUI (student wing of the Congress) protesting against him. The former CM alleged that the university sent Soman on compulsory leave to enable the students to withdraw their protest, adding that the action saddened many patriots of the country,” the letter read in Marathi.
“When the state is being ruled by a chief minister who believes in Savarkar’s ideology, such punishment is not expected. The punishment should be revoked without falling prey to any political pressure,” the BJP leader urged the chief minister.
Home minister Anil Deshmukh had on Thursday stated that state government would take action against Mr Soman for his ‘abusive’ post against the Congress leader. “A professor’s work is to teach children, not give statements like these (on Mr Gandhi). He has been sent on leave for now but action will be taken once he is back,” the minister had stated.