Professor under fire for Islamophobic comments against JNUSU general secretary

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: December 31, 2018

Aejaz Ahmad Rather has lodged a complaint against Prof Amita Singh of the CSLG/JNU for calling him a terrorist and looking like someone who is responsible for bomb blasts in India.  


JNU
 
New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) General Secretary Aejaz Ahmad Rather has alleged the faculty of Center of Law and Governance Prof Amita Singh called him a terrorist. He has lodged a complaint against Prof Amita Singh of the CSLG/JNU in Equal Opportunity Office, National Commission for Minorities and Delhi Minorities Commission.
 
The incident took place on Wednesday near the School of Sanskrit Studies when Rather was having tea with friends and CLJ faculty Amita Singh, who was en route to her department, had a verbal exchange with them.
 
Aejaz said in a report, “I was having tea with three of my friends and suddenly Amita Singh came in her car and started asking us for our identity and when we confronted her, she started hurling abuses towards us and said that you guys are terrorists and responsible for the bomb blast in this country. Termites like you needed to be cleaned up from this country. After that, I said fine whatever you wanted to say you have told us, and then we left from the place.”
 
A JNUTA Press statement on December 27, 2018, had stated that, “The JNUTA is extremely shocked and condemns in strongest terms the comments made by Prof Amita Singh, Chairperson, SCDR, in which she allegedly addressed JNIUSU General Secretary, Aejaz Ahmed Rather, in the presence of other students, as someone who ‘looks like a terrorist who has committed ten bomb blasts.”
 
The JNUTA statement added, “This alleged behaviour by Amita Singh is clearly against the mandate provided by the JNU Act and disrupts the process of teaching and learning in the JNU campus. Prof Singh’s conduct is unacceptable, shameful, and is completely unbecoming of a teacher. JNUTA stands in solidarity with Rather.”
 
As per the statement, JNUTA demanded a formal inquiry to look into the incident to prevent such attempts of disturbing peace of the campus which is aimed to deliberate profiling and criminalization of JNU community.
 
Singh demanded the immediate resignation of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) President Atul Sood after this statement was issued against her.
 
Full text of the complaint filed by Rather:
 
Subject: Complaint against Prof Amita Singh
 
Sir/Ma’am
 
This is to bring to your notice the disturbing events of December 26, 2018, and to lodge a complaint against Professor Amita Singh of CSLG for hurling Islamophobic abuse at me.
 
On December 26, at about 2:30 pm, I and a few other students were having tea next to the road near the Jungle hut canteen, near the School of Sanskrit Studies. One student was sitting on a chair on the edge of the road. Suddenly a car came and he stood up and moved the chair away so as not to obstruct the car. However, the car stopped and Professor Amita Singh of the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance (CSLG), who was driving the car, started enquiring about us. To our shock and disbelief, she started raising questions about our social background. She asked for our names, demanded that we show her our identify cards, and, in a brazen display of arrogance, made comments about our religious backgrounds.
 
Since Professor Amita Singh holds no authority to demand us to prove our identity, we refused to do so. Given that I am General Secretary of JNUSU and a known activist, Professor Amita Singh would have known me. I am well known among students and faculty members. I have had several encounters with Professor Amita Singh in protests and meetings with administrative staff, and have every reason to believe that she was well aware of my identity. It was entirely on purpose, and with a clear agenda to provoke me, that she repeatedly asked for my identity and made communal hateful comments regarding my religious background. She even suggested that I had come there at the behest of some other Muslim students. She named several Muslim students who were not even present there.
 
However, showing complete lack of sensitivity and decency that is expected of a teacher in a prestigious institute such as JNU, she made the following derogatory remark about us: “You people are outsiders, look very vulgar and uncultured, and lack a minimum audacity to be a JNU student.” In disbelief about what we heard from a senior faculty in JNU, we humbly replied that it is unbecoming of a JNU professor to behave in such a manner with students using such abusive language.
 
I would like to emphasise that, despite the humiliation we faced at the hands of Prof. Singh, we behaved in a very humble and sombre manner. However, she kept hurling abuses at us and kept insisting that we show her our identity cards. Having been a student of the university for many years, we are well aware of the functions and jurisdiction of the faculty members as well as students. When Prof. Singh persisted with her forced interrogation, we asked her as to what authority did she have to demand us to show our identity cards and why should we as registered students agree to such surveillance.
 
Professor Amita Singh took this as an opportunity to personally target me and started making anti-minority and Islamophobic comments towards me. To utter shock and horror of everyone present there, Prof. Singh said, “from your appearance, it looks like you are a convict in ten bomb blast cases and that is why you are not telling your name”. I was shocked at being subject to such discrimination and humiliation for my social and religious background by such a senior professor of the university. Given my state of shock, other students who were present there just took me away from the spot.
 
Given this context, I would like to lodge a complaint against Prof Amita Singh of the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance for hurling Islamophobic abuses and comments at me, and for engaging in religious profiling and targeting of students. Amita Singh’s actions have deeply affected me as, coming from a difficult background, it has taken a lot of struggle to be able to come to study at a university like JNU. If a member of JNU faculty is making me feel like an outcast, questioning my social background, it is not just violation of my Fundamental Rights that the constitution provides through Article 15, but also a violation of human rights.
 
Reserving my right to seek remedy at other fora, I demand that the Equal Opportunity Office of the university must immediately institute an inquiry and take disciplinary action against Prof Amita Singh according to rules of the university.
 
Thanking you
Yours sincerely
Aejaz Ahmad Rather
General Secretary,
JNUSU