IIT Bombay Fines Students for Controversial Ramayana Skit

IIT Bombay has imposed fines of ₹1.2 lakh on eight students for their involvement in a controversial skit titled ‘Raahovan’ during the Performing Arts Festival on March 31. The play, reportedly a parody of the Ramayana, drew formal complaints from students who alleged it contained disrespectful references to Hindu beliefs and deities. Following a disciplinary committee meeting on May 8, the institute announced penalties on June 4.

The fines, equivalent to a semester’s tuition fee, were levied against four students at ₹1.2 lakh each and four others at ₹40,000 each. Additional sanctions were imposed on graduating students, including exclusion from gymkhana awards, while junior students faced restrictions on hostel access. The penalties must be paid by July 20, 2024, at the Dean of Student Affairs’ office, with warnings of further consequences for non-compliance.

The controversy escalated on social media after the ‘IIT B for Bharat’ group criticized the skit as disrespectful to Lord Ram and the Ramayana. Videos from the performance circulated online, alleging misuse of academic freedom to mock revered figures. While some praised the institute’s disciplinary actions, others condemned it as an infringement on freedom of expression.

The Performing Arts Festival, an annual event highlighting student talent at IIT Bombay, has traditionally featured diverse art forms.

Shruti Suman

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