SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: July 19, 2019

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Film and Television Institute of India

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On July 19, 2019, administrators at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) suspended professor Indranil Bhattacharya after he posted comments critical of the ruling government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Facebook.

During a challenge to the disciplinary action before the Bombay high court, Bhattacharya noted that the disciplinary action against him was commenced after he lodged a complaint with authorities over the functioning of the FTII, suggesting that this action, rather than — or in addition to — his social media activity, was the basis for his suspension.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about disciplinary action by an institution against a scholar in retaliation for the exercise of the right to free expression — whether such expression is overtly political, or relates to the functioning of the institution where the scholar is employed. University authorities have an obligation to protect, and not to restrict, the exercise of freedom of expression and academic freedom by members of the higher education community. Such actions erode university autonomy and limit academic freedom on campus.