Controversy Over Dalit Students Being Expelled Only Over Anti-Modi Sloganeering

Published on: September 18, 2016

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Expelled students part of anti-Modi sloganeering: Ambedkar University VC R C Sobti to HRD ministry

Amid a simmering controversy over the rustication of eight Dalit students after an alleged assault on a faculty member, the Vice Chancellor to Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow - Prof R C Sobti has written to the HRD ministry pointing out that the same students were also involved in sloganeering against PM Modi when he visited the varsity in January this year for its 6th Convocation. The Ambedkar University Dalit Students' Union has issued a statement condemning the "bramhinical hegemony and caste based prejudices of the administration" of the University and has said such actions against students "threatens their very existence in the academic spaces which are largely perceived as 'inclusive".

The Economic Times reports that in a status note communicated to the HRD ministry, the VC is learnt to have defended the University's action against the eight students citing repeated offences including that of disrupting the PM's visit with slogans on the Rohith Vemula issue.

Apart from the caste politics that has reared up on campus, there is power politics at play as well with the VC pointing fingers at the University Registrar Sunita Chandra in his communication to HRD. Chandra has said that she had nothing to do with the attack on faculty member Kamal Jaiswal while the VC refused to comment on the matter. The University's spokesperson, Prof Govind Pandey defended the varsity's action. "These students have been expelled earlier also due to unruly activities". This has however been challenged by the students. 

Unfortunately, they belong to one community but there is no caste colour to this. This is simply unruly behavior and goondaism. The VC has set up another committee to examine the issue again and give a fair chance to all the students," Pandey told the Economic Times. Faculty member Kamal Jaiswal -who was assaulted by a group of students on 7th September after a stormy high powered meeting held at the University-has already lodged a FIR.

"There is a larger conspiracy here. This is no Dalit conspiracy either-there are upper caste people also involved and I have named them in the FIR. These students have been used by them", Jaiswal told ET. Meanwhile, sensitivities are running high on the campus with various students organizations andtheir political affiliates taking up the matter. The varsity has banned all protests on campus.

There are also misgivings about some organizations- to which Jaiswal is affiliated- recently going to court challenging special quota provisions at the University. The BBAU is the only Central University admits up to 50 per cent students from the SC/ST community.