26 February 2019
Bhubaneswar: A famous American film producer once said, “There are three sides of every story. Your side. My side. And the truth.” The Pulwama attack on February 14 that claimed lives of over 40 CRPF jawans is one such incident that can be viewed from many sides. Assistant professor at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) Madhumita Ray was doing exactly that when she was invited for a prime time debate in an Odia TV channel ‘Kanak News’. However, that cost her her job.
On February 18, professor Madhumita Ray of KIIT university’s School of Rural Management was invited on an Odia news channel for a 10 pm discussion on the Pulwama attack. While the entire nation is seething with anger and wants war with Pakistan over the issue, Ray presented a different side focusing more on how war is never the solution and how army is also exploitative sometimes.
To this, the other participant in the debate retired Indian Army Colonel Purna Chandra Patnaik tagged her anti-national. However, Ray stood by her views and said, “In 70 years, India and Pakistan have fought many wars but there has been no solution. A war to avenge 40 soldiers, will lead to more soldiers dying, weaken the economy and exhaust the country’s resources.”
She also said that a solution can come about when there is proper conversation and engagement with the people in Kashmir. “India is a democratic country and a proper political process should be in place at J&K.” Madhumita also talked about army brutality and excess in Kashmir and North-East and said, “There have been cases of soldiers raping women in both the places and they are not even paying for this.”
The episode that got a lot of ‘negative feedback’ has been removed from the news channel’s website. After the show aired, Ray was reportedly asked to appear before a disciplinary committee of KIIT university. She was told that her views were not popular among the people and many in powerful posts had been offended by her comments.
She was ordered to resign within 24 hours despite having a one month notice period. Following that, founder of KIIT Achutya Samanta, issued an ‘advice note’ to the faculty to take prior permission from the university’s director of public relations before sharing anything with media. The teachers were also requested not to make ‘loose comments on any matter before the other staff and before public’. In order to protect her freedom of speech and expression, Madhumita tabled her resignation letter without batting an eyelid. KANAK NEWS’ Editor Manoranjan Mishra termed the entire incident ‘unfortunate’.
Despite several attempts by OMMCOM NEWS to contact KIIT authorities and Ray, they remained unavailable for a comment.
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