sandeep pandey
Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey has been sacked for his "naxal activities" from IIT-BHU. Picture: Sandeep Pandey in a protest, 5 October Sandeep Pandey

Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey's contract as a visiting faculty with IIT-BHU has been terminated by its board of governors.

"He was involved in anti-administration activities and spoiled the academic atmosphere of the university," BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh told The Hindu.

"BHU is an educational institute, not a political field where one comes to further the ideology of a party. He is known to advocate Communist ideology," added a senior official in the BHU. 

Pandey accused RSS-associated board members to be responsible for his termination.

Pandey, the co-founder of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and vice president of Socialist Party, said in a statement on social media: "In a recent board meeting the vice chancellor of BHU, who was made the chairman of IIT BoG (board of governors) by minister of HRD, GoI, bypassing the panel of five names recommended by a resolution of BoG, Prof GC Tripathi, and dean of faculty affairs, IIT, BHU, Prof Dhananjay Pandey, both gentlemen associated with RSS, primarily forced the decision." (sic)

Sources from the BHU administration have said that he is being removed for being involved in "unwanted actitivites".

"He reportedly screened the banned documentary on Nirbhaya for his students. He was also involved in holding processions and dharna on the campus and in political and Naxal activities which could not be tolerated," a source from the BHU administration told TOI.

Pandey has refuted the accusations saying, "The charges against me are that I am a Naxalite, showed a banned documentary on Nirbhaya case and am involved in anti-national activities. I wish to clarify that I am not a Naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian."

"But I do identify with the causes taken up by Naxalites even though I may not agree with their methods. I also think that it requires a lot of courage and sacrifice to be a Naxalite and I certainly don't have that kind of resolve," he said in the statement. 

The documentary, "India's daughter", was supposed to be screened during his development studies class; however, it was stopped after the chief proctor and the police intervened before the class, Pandey added. Instead, a different documentary was screened followed by a discussion on violence against women.

"I've no regrets as the decision to terminate my contract has not been taken based on my academic performance but it is because of my political views and activities," added Pandey, who had been working at IIT-BHU for the last two and a half years. 

He is also the co-founder of Asha for Education, an NPO providing education to underprivileged children while NAPM is a grassroots organisation.