Dalit student continues protest over delayed thesis evaluation

Dalit student continues protest over delayed thesis evaluation

The protest of a Dalit student has entered its 7th day on Tuesday. Rajnish Ambedkar, a student pursuing a Ph.D. in the Women's Studies Department of the Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University at Wardha, Maharashtra has been sitting on a dharna to demand evaluation of his thesis. However, the administration is not heeding to his plea. On Friday, during the protest, a group of men, allegedly belonging to the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, chanted "Jai Shri Ram" and attacked the protesting Dalit students.

According to the students, some two-dozen men arrived at the protest site and started assaulting them while making casteist slurs. Two of the protestors, Vivek and Antas Sarvananda, were also injured in the incident. Rajnish Kumar and his fellow protestors demanded the arrest of all the attackers under section 307 of the IPC.

Career sabotage attempts by varsity

In a Facebook post, Rajnish Kumar Ambedkar alleged that he had submitted his thesis while following all due processes, and on 26th March, ten months had passed without any evaluation of his work. He claimed that his research director was arbitrarily changed in violation of rules, and that the administration was showing a biased attitude towards him due to his caste. Rajnish alleges that the administration is trying to ruin his career to discourage other students from speaking out against unjust government policies. He claims to be facing mental, financial, and social torture by Head of Department of Women’s Studies Dr. Supriya Pathak and Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajnish Shukla.

HOD refutes allegations of biased behaviour

Speaking with The Mooknayak, the Head of the Department, Dr. Supriya Pathak, denied any discrimination and provided her perspective on the situation. She stated that Rajnish submitted the first draft of his thesis on May 26th, 2022, and she evaluated the copy before sending it with the necessary changes to the Vice-Chancellor. However, as it was the summer vacation in June, the V-C only came on June 27th, and when she conveyed the changes, he made it an ego issue.

Regarding the change in Supervisor, Dr. Pathak clarified that Professor Shambhu Gupta was retiring, and as per UGC rules, the Supervisor needed to change. She further mentioned that they had offered to allow Rajnish to retain Professor Shambhu to assist him along with another guide, but he was adamant on his demand to keep Professor Shambu as his guide. Dr. Pathak also mentioned that Rajnish submitted his thesis in six years, which was against the rule of four years, and that he was provided an extension on humanitarian grounds, but he still felt that he had been discriminated against.

Dalit student continues protest over delayed thesis evaluation
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