Pondicherry University students protest over suspension of play director

Pondicherry University students hold protest in solidarity with suspended student.

The students of Performing Arts Department of the Pondicherry University hold protest over suspension of play director.

Students from the Department of Performing Arts at Pondicherry University are holding protests following a recent controversy surrounding a play performed at the university’s cultural festival named “Ezhini 2k24” as part of the World Theatre Day celebration in March.

Students hoding playcards with sogans in solidarity with the makers of the play,”Somayanam”./Picture: Aritrya Sanyal

On March 29th, a group of students from the Department of Performing Arts staged a play named “Somayanam”. It created a lot of controversies within and outside the university and became a nationwide issue due to the politicisation and involvement of student political groups like ABVP and SFI. It has been more than one month since the incident took place.

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On the morning of 2nd May 2023, the issue gained limelight again after the performing arts students held a protest against the university administration to revoke the suspension of director of the play “Pushpa Raj”. During an interaction between our reporter and the student, the student said that after that matter, the head of the department was asked to step down.

Security force deployed in the campus in the wake of the student protest, the police personels from the Kalapet police station under whose jurisdiction the central University falls can be seen at the protest site./ Picture: Prithwi Raj Chouhan

There is no cooperation from the department and the administration in addressing the suspension as well as the complaints of the online threats that the actors and the makers of the play recieved. According to the statement of the students , the maker Puspa Raj was not summoned by the anonymous committee, which was formed by the administration, for the investigation. When asked about the Committee member’s name the authorities denied.

Students demand lawful measures to be taken against the online threats recieved by the actors of the play./ Picture: Prithwi Raj Chouhan

Pushpa the maker of the play in his statement said that he was not allowed to get entry inside the university, he said if the administration has suspended him, he has the right to know why and fight for his case.

The protests by the Performing Arts students will continue until their demands are met, the students demand immediate revocation of the unlawful suspension, urgent action against sexual harassment threats and expulsion of unqualified HOD and Dean from the Department of Performing Arts.

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