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Mumbai police denies permission to people to gather in support of Yogesh Soman, Mumbai University professor who was sent on compulsory leave for criticising Rahul Gandhi

It is unfortunate that a professor is sent on compulsory leave only for the reason that he dared to speak against Rahul Gandhi.

Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government has pledged to silence any and every voice that is raised in dissent. Recent example of such silencing happened when Mumbai police denied permission to a group of citizens who wanted to gather in support of Yogesh Soman, a Mumbai University professor who was sent on compulsory leave.

Yogesh Soman, director of Mumbai university’s academy of theatre arts had posted a video criticising former Congress president Rahul Gandhi over his contemptuous remarks on Veer Savarkar. After this, student organizations like NSUI, AISF, Chhatra Bharati had demanded that action must be taken against Soman for this video. Succumbing to the pressure from these organisations and the Maha Vikas Aghadi govt, University administration sent Soman on compulsory leave and assured that an enquiry will be initiated against him.

This action left the right thinking citizens in shock and anger. Many came out in support of Soman on social media.

A meet was organised by Vivek Vichar Manch in Mumbai’s Dadar on 22 January to express solidarity with Soman. The organizers went to Shivani Park police station in Dadar to seek permission for this meet. The concerned police authorities rejected their application and denied permission for holding this meet. The police served the organisers with a notice u/s 149 of the CrPC and threatened to register complaints against organisers and participants if the meet is held after such denial.

Police letter denying permission (part 1)

Police letter denying permission (part 2)

In the notice, among other reasons for denying permission the police cited one reason that the meet is scheduled to take place in front of Late Meenatai Thackeray statue and this statue is a matter of faith for karyakartas of Shiv Sena. There is a possibility that Shiv Sena karyakartas would thus oppose or disrupt the meet.

It is unfortunate that a professor is sent on compulsory leave only for the reason that he dared to speak against Rahul Gandhi. It is even more unfortunate that common citizens who wished to express their support to the professor using constitutional and peaceful methods were threatened by the police. Is the Maharashtra police under such political pressure that they are not letting upright common citizens to express dissent? Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena is abusing power and using the police machinery against its own citizens. Killing democracy in their own state and accusing Modi govt for being fascist is the Shivsena way of politics. The night that is this Thackeray sarkar is dark and full of terrors for Maharashtra.

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Shriya Gune
Advocate. Currently practising in the Bombay High Court at Mumbai.

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