17/05/2017 5:03 PM IST | Updated 17/05/2017 5:17 PM IST

Disquiet Among Alumni After IIMC Announces 7 AM-Yajna Before Seminar Moderated By Editor Of RSS Mouthpiece

The institute has also invited controversial former Baster IG Kalluri.


A yajna at 7 AM will kick-start a day-long seminar at one of India's best journalism institutes, the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), with the inaugural session moderated by Hitesh Shankar, the publisher of Panchajanya, a mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The snippet of news, in The Indian Express, has spread a sense of disquiet among social media users, who are speculating a right-wing influence on the educational institution led by KG Suresh, a former Senior Fellow with New Delhi-based think tank Vivekananda International Foundation, a public policy think tank.

"Surely that has to be a first in a government educational institution," observed The Hoot, a media-watch website.

IIMC was hit by controversies last year after a professor resigned accusing it of 'targeting' him for backing protests over the suicide of Hyderabad PhD scholar Rohith Vemula. Amit Sengupta, who was posted to Orissa, said the institute had become a "hand-maiden of a vicious, undemocratic and partisan regime".

A student from its Hindi journalism course posted an allegedly offensive message on Facebook last year, criticising a group of teachers and students protesting Vemula's suicide through a series of discussions on discriminations, leading to unrest on the campus. Dalit students demanded an apology from the student and complained to the institute.

Obviously, the news has ruffled some feathers.

The seminar on Vartaman Pariprekshya Mein Rashtriya Patrakarita (Mainstream Journalism in A Contemporary Context) is scheduled to take place on 20 May.

The Newslaundry, which accessed the invitation letter, reported that the controversial former Inspector General (IG) of Bastar Range in Chhattisgarh, SRP Kalluri, has also been invited. Kalluri has been accused of human rights violation in Bastar.