New Delhi - In a concerning trend within higher education, the recent wave of terminations and displacements of professors from Dalit, Adivasi, and Bahujan communities has ignited a fervent debate on the alleged influence of casteism within academic institutions.
The Mooknayak examined specific cases that highlight the broader issue of caste-based discrimination, calling attention to the challenges faced by educators who are advocating for neutral discourse in the classrooms.
Dr. Ritu Singh, a Bahujan Ad-Hoc professor, is on a sit-in protest outside Gate no. 4, Arts faculty of North Campus. It has been more than 100 days since she undertook the fight. According to the professor, the principal of Daulat Ram College has left the city and is in a “hideout.”
Dr. Ritu Singh completed her Ph.D. in Psychology at Delhi University and took up a temporary position in the SC category at Daulat Ram College in August 2019. Unfortunately, she faced termination in 2020, alleging discrimination based on her caste by the college principal, Dr. Savita Roy. Dr. Singh claims her removal was unjust, especially during the pandemic when guidelines advised against terminating ad-hoc teachers. Feeling unfairly treated, she protested, seeking support from the Delhi University Teacher Association (DUTA).
As the matter went to court, Dr. Singh says the principal presented a letter alleging dissatisfaction from 35 students. However, an investigation revealed she hadn't taught these students. The discovery led to a charge sheet in the case. Dr. Singh emphasizes the unfairness of her dismissal and points out the discrepancies in the claims made against her.
A history professor named Ratan Lal from Hindu College was arrested by the Cyber Police Station, North, under sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. The arrest followed an FIR filed against Lal on the night of 17th May 2022, based on a complaint by a Delhi-based lawyer, Vineet Jindal. The complaint alleged that Lal had shared a tweet that was derogatory and provocative towards the Shivling, a sacred symbol in Hinduism.
In the actual tweet, Lal posted a photo of a supposed Shivling discovered in a mosque compound and used satire to question its authenticity. The post drew on the phallic symbolism of the lingam, an ancient symbol in Hinduism, and made a joke about the appearance of the Gyanvapi 'shivling.'
Professor Vikram Harijana is a permanent faculty at Allahabad University but now goes to classes fearing for his life. His promotion has been put on hold for years, making us question the administration and their thought process.
On 22nd October 2023, the police in Prayagraj filed a complaint against him because of a tweet. They accused him of regularly making disrespectful comments about Hindu deities. The complaint came from some right-wing groups, including the Bajrang Dal. He was charged under Sections 153A and 295A of the IPC, as well as Section 66 of the Information Technology Act. He went to the Allahabad high court, asking them to cancel the complaint. During the hearing, he requested protection under Section 41-A of the CrPC, which says the police must give notice before arresting someone.
On 8th November, a bench of judges ruled that the complaint showed a likely offense, so it couldn't be canceled. However, the court told the authorities to follow Section 41-A of CrPC if it applied. On 21st November 2023, the university gave him a notice, asking for an explanation within seven days for "posting offensive comments about Hindu deities and culture" on social media.
“These institutions which hold utmost academic importance are being infiltrated and diluted by the people from ‘Shakhas’ with the help of those who are already in power, inside the universities, and in the country,” Laxman Yadav claimed at the press conference arranged at Hindu College, after his termination letter was released.
A notice was given to ad-hoc in the Hindi and Philosophy Departments at Zakir Husain College of Delhi University. The notice stated that the term of appointment for all Assistant Professors working on an ad-hoc basis in these departments will end on 6th December 2023. Laxman Yadav, who had been serving as an ad-hoc Assistant Professor in the Hindi Department for nearly 14 years, is one of the affected teachers. His position has been filled by another person.
For the 14 years he worked at the college, he received a letter every 4 months extending his ad-hoc contract with the university. Despite being the ad-hoc teacher with the longest service and the highest score among those who went through the selection process before the committee, Yadav's name was excluded. Instead, he was replaced by a teacher who lacks experience and has lower qualifications.
Dr. Shubhda Chaudhary, an ad-hoc teacher at Indraprastha College for Women, recently took to X (formerly Twitter) to share her experience of being targeted at the college. She mentioned that students have expressed gratitude for her being their voice and asserted her commitment to speaking the truth about the circumstances leading to her displacement and the conduct of political science interviews. Dr. Chaudhary, who boasts an API score of 91 and impressive international academic credentials, found herself at odds with the college administration when she advocated for victims of sexual harassment as a member of the Internal Complaints Committee. Her refusal to succumb to pressure in this matter led to her victimization.