‘Casteist’ skit case: 7 students, 2 Jain University staffers sent to judicial custody for 14 days

Police custody ended on Thursday for accused, booked under sections of non-bailable SC and the ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Feb 17, 2023 | 7:30 AMUpdatedFeb 17, 2023 | 6:25 PM

All nine were arrested earlier this week. (iStockPhoto/KuntalSaha)

Seven students and two staff members of the Jain Deemed-to-be-University, arrested for presenting a “casteist skit” at a college festival, were remanded in 14 days of judicial custody on Thursday, 16 February. All nine have been sent to the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison

The students of the Centre of Management Studies (CMS) were arrested along with their Dean and Faculty of Management Director Dinesh Nilkant, and Programme Coordinator Prathik, on 13 February and remanded in police custody for three days, which ended Thursday.

While in police custody, the statements of all the accused were recorded and a spot mahajar (inspection) was also conducted.

“On Thursday, we produced all the nine accused before the magistrate who remanded them in judicial custody for 14 days,” Jayanagar sub-division Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Srinivasa KV told South First.

The ‘offensive’ skit

The seven-minute skit was enacted during an event called ‘Mad Ads’ of ‘Samyog’, as part of the Jain University Youth Fest ’23, by the students. It referred to Dr BR Ambedkar in an offensive manner and took potshots at Dalits in the garb of humour. A portion of the skit was widely shared on social media.

The Karnataka government has said it will not tolerate any insult to Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, and warned it would probe the role of the college management in the skit being put up.

During Zero Hour in the Karnataka Assembly, JD(S) legislator Dr K Annadani raised the issue of the play allegedly demeaning Dr Ambedkar.

“The government has taken action by arresting some people. Such an insult to Ambedkar is unacceptable. Remove the ‘deemed university’ status and withdraw all the facilities given to the educational institution,” Annadani said.

Matter in the Assembly

Replying to him, the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said: “If the management’s role is found, then certainly action will be taken.” He, however, did not concede the demand for removal of the institution’s “deemed university” status.

Annadani alleged that the professor and the dean of the university must be held accountable as they knew about the play when the rehearsal were being done.

Meanwhile, the Bangalore University Students Association has called for “stringent action” over the play staged by students of Jain University.

The students body, which held protests over the issue, urged the University Grants Commission to withdraw the Deemed-to-be University granted to the institution, said Lokesh, vice-president of the students union, adding that letters have been written in this regard to the Governor, chief minister, chief secretary, home minister, among others.

The BU student body also demanded that a statue of Dr BR Ambedkar should be installed at Jain University’s premises.