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Last Updated: May 20, 2007 - 10:48:48 AM
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Art attack: UGC asks MSU to clarify
May 15, 2007 - 9:54:57 PM
'We have received a letter Monday from the students about the developments,' said Thorat.

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[RxPG] New Delhi, May 15 - The controversy over an arts student's work that led to his arrest last week widened Tuesday as the University Grants Commission - asked the vice chancellor of Maharaja Sayajirao University - to explain why he has suspended the Fine Arts Faculty dean.

UGC chief S.K. Thorat sent a letter to MSU vice chancellor Manoj Soni seeking clarifications on the suspension of Shivaji Panikkar

The move came after Thorat met Human Resource Development minister Arjun Singh who had expressed concern over the development.

'A letter has been sent to Soni asking him to clarify,' the UGC chief told reporters.

Chandramohan, a final year arts student, was released on bail Monday, five days after he was arrested for alleged obscene portrayal of religious figures. His works, prepared as part of his studies and not meant for public exhibition, depicted several Hindu gods and goddesses as well as Jesus Christ in allegedly obscene postures.

Activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad -, the student wing of Gujarat's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party -, had last week barged into the MSU fine arts department - one of the well-known centres of India's modern art - and vandalised the exhibits there.

While some Christian groups also protested the student's works, his fellow students and faculty as well as several prominent artists who studied here came out in his support. MSU authorities later suspended Fine Arts Faculty dean Panikkar after he stood up in support of the student.

Concerned over the developments, a section of the MSU students urged the UGC to reinstate Panikkar, who was suspended after he opposed the 'moral policing'.

'We have received a letter Monday from the students about the developments,' said Thorat.

'This should not have happened at all,' he said, adding that the issue could have been handled better.

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