Statement to Condemn the assault on Professor Shivaji Panikkar in Ahmedabad

Sahmat strongly condemns the assault on art historian Shivji Panikkar which took place in Ahmedabad today. Professor Panikkar was assaulted in his car on the way to preside as a chief guest at a film festival, and the windows of his car were smashed. Recently suspended  from the faculty of fine arts at the MS University in Baroda after a jury review was disrupted by BJP leader Niraj Jain, Professor Panikkar had been threatened with 'dire consequences' by Mr. Jain, for protecting the rights of his students and the integrity of the academic proceedings of his department. Today’s attack is obviously orchestrated by the sangh parivar and seeks to continue their attempt to impose their politically motivated cultural agenda by fear and terror.


We call on the authorities to immediately proceed against the attackers. Meanwhile, the functioning of the department of art at MSU continues to be stalled, with the still incomplete results from the last session, disrupted by the BJP. The admissions process is also stalled, and the students are on an indefinite strike calling for reinstatement of Professor Panikkar. Since the University Authorities do not seem to be keen on resolving this situation, we call on the Governor of Gujarat, to take action in his capacity as visitor to MS University to restore the world-famous department to it's normal functioning.