KOCHI: After drawing flak from several quarters for suspending ten students who participated in the ‘Hug of Love’ protest last week, the council of the Maharaja’s College on Tuesday revoked its decision. “The students have been reinstated, and they will be allowed to attend classes from Wednesday,” the college authorities said.
The students were suspended after they participated in the ‘Hug of Love’ protest, to express solidarity with the ‘Kiss of Love’ event held at Marine Drive. The event was held in protest against the increasing incidents of ‘moral policing’ in the country.
The students termed the principal’s decision to suspend them as autocratic, and denial of the basic freedom the Constitution allowed.
Thomas Isaac,a Maharaja’s College alumnus, openly came out against the suspension, and said that the order was against the ideals of the college that has a tradition of supporting students’ rights and freedom. In a Facebook post, Thomas said that the ‘Kiss of Love’ protest was the first opposition of any kind by the young generation against the Sangh Parivar ever since the Parliament elections.
“This protest is without any political affiliation, but the principal of the Maharaja’s College failed to notice that. If the authorities fail to revoke the suspension immediately, the alumni of the college will be forced to take a strong stand against the decision, and to participate in their agitation for ‘freedom of expression’, he said.
Speaking to ‘Express’, after the suspension was revoked, Thomas said that he had opposed the suspension order because it was an unfair move against the students who had held a peaceful protest on the campus.
“There was nothing illegal about their protest. Now that the students are allowed back on the campus, I don’t plan to interfere in their protest,” he said. Several prominent activists and former alumni of the College had expressed solidarity with the students who were suspended. Teachers of the college also found the judgement unfair.
On Monday, Members of the SFI and the ASF had also organised protests against the suspension of the students.
The order suspending the students was issued by the college council, comprising the principal, teachers and HODs. Principal T V Francis said the ten-day suspension awarded to the students was reduced to five days.