Six Bengaluru college students suspended over casteist skit, FIR registered | Azad Times

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Six students from Jain University were reportedly suspended after they performed a skit with casteist humour and problematic jibes at Dalits, at a college youth festival.

Six students from Jain University’s Centre for Management Studies (CMS) in Bengaluru have reportedly been suspended after they performed a comic skit with casteist overtones and derogatory references to BR Ambedkar. A university official told The Indian Express that the skit was intended to highlight “the anti-caste system” in India but the students “went a little overboard” in their presentation. “As soon as we realised that the skit was offensive, we immediately suspended the boys,” the official reportedly said, adding that a disciplinary committee has been formed to inquire into the incident.

A group of college students who watched the skit while it was performed at a college youth festival in the city on February 4 had started an online petition on, alleging it to be an "incredibly casteist and insensitive" skit. As outrage against the play grew online, a complaint was filed on Thursday, February 9, before the Superindentent of Police, Maharashtra by Aakshay Bansode, State Member of the Vanchit Bahujan Yuva Aaghadi. Now, an FIR (First Information Report) has been registered at the Siddapura police station in Bengaluru against the Dean of Jain University, the writers of the skit, and the actors, under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The skit was enacted by ‘The Delroys Boys’, the theatre group from Jain University’s CMS, as part of ‘Mad-Ads’, a segment at the fest where participants are to advertise imaginary products along the lines of humour, along with playfully making fun of other colleges participating in the same. “The skit they performed showcased a man from a lowered caste background trying to date an upper-caste woman. The makers turned BR Ambedkar into ‘Beer Ambedkar’ and used several other problematic phrases like ‘Why be Dalit when you can be D-Lit’, to supposedly spark humour,” one of the petitioners told TNM.

FIR (CR No 0032/2023) has been registered under the SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 at Siddapura PS.

Further investigation is underway.

— ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ನಗರ ಪೊಲೀಸ್‌ BengaluruCityPolice (@BlrCityPolice) February 11, 2023

One of the petitioners, a person who wished to maintain anonymity, had told TNM, “They performed the skit at three different venues now. When we watched the skit here in Bengaluru, we immediately raised complaints, but the organisers felt the skit was in good humour.”

Under a reel posted on Jhatkaa’s Instagram page featuring some of the controversial snippets of casteist humour from the skit, a few users had argued that towards the end, the skit tried to subvert casteism and that it was not fair to make judgement solely based on these snippets. Among these was a comment from the handle ‘The Delroys Boys’, which said that the skit was conceived as a satire and that they were disappointed with the petitioners’ attempt at “ill-informed media sensationalism”. They mentioned the dialogues from the climax of the skit where the marginalised protagonist wins over his harassers to emphasise that the skit was not meant to be discriminatory.

The petitioners told TNM that a few seemingly subversive dialogues, in the end, do not justify the casteist humour intended to tickle savarna funny bones, that appear in a good number of scenes in the performance. TNM reached out to 'The Delroys Boys' via their Instagram page and they responded with an apology. "We as a team want to say sorry to everyone that we have spoken bad about, we genuinely apologise for our mistake. Our intention was to bring in a social message but this turned out to be unaccepted," they wrote. They also posted a public apology on their Instagram page on February 10, and now, the page appears deactivated.

Read: Bengaluru students petition against casteist college skit, demand apology

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