Anil Kumar Saumitra, head of the BJP media cell in Madhya Pradesh until he was suspended by the party last year for calling Mahatma Gandhi the “father of Pakistan”, has been appointed professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), one of the premier mass communication institutes in the country.
Saumitra was suspended from the BJP’s primary membership in May 2019 following his remarks against Mahatma Gandhi. The BJP said his social media posts were against the party’s ethics, ideas and principles, and had affected its image.
In a Facebook post, Saumitra had said of the Mahatma: “He was father of the nation, but of Pakistan. The country had crores of sons like him, some were worthy, some unworthy.”
It was the second time that Saumitra had been removed from a party-related post. In 2013, he was editor of Charaiveti, the BJP’s mouthpiece in Madhya Pradesh. He was sacked after the magazine ran an article ‘Church ke nark me nun ka Jeevan’, alleging sexual exploitation of nuns in the Catholic Church.
In a letter to Sumitra Mahajan, who was then MP from Indore and president of Pandit Deendayal Vichar Prakashan, Saumitra wrote, “I have been treated like a criminal. I was selected as editor due to my RSS background and ideological commitment”. The letter was also copied to RSS leaders Mohan Bhagwat, Suresh Joshi and Suresh Soni, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, L K Advani and state leaders including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Saumitra’s appointment to the IIMC was confirmed – over 60 applicants were interviewed — by an order on October 26, when he joined the institute as a professor.
The IIMC offer letter sent to him on October 20 stated that his selection had been confirmed after he was interviewed in the first week of September, and that he would be under a two-year probation period from the date of joining.
Saumitra did not respond to multiple calls and text messages from The Indian Express for comment. Asked about the appointment, IIMC Director General Sanjay Dwivedi said, “No comment.”
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