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Calling Smriti Irani's Bluff: Twisted Truths in Parliament

16 Jan 2020

First published on February 25, 2016



Goebbels was an interesting and effective man. Held responsible for many of the worst and most supremacist and violent ideas that guided Fuhrer Hitler’s reign, he is recalled in history, more as a frequently used adjective-term, to connote a particular kind of pernicious government propaganda based on lies, or at best half-truths (he headed the Propaganda Ministry of the Nazi government).

Goebbelsian propaganda has been the forte of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and was palpably evident in Minister, MHRD, Smriti Irani’s speech in the Lok Sabha yesterday, February 24,2016.

The broader issues raised in the speech by the Union Minister for Human Resources Development (MHRD) have already been effectively countered in The Telegraph : A [1]Fact Check on what HRD minister Smruti Irani said in Parliament [2] including countering systematic efforts at vilification and name calling.[3]

Here we put some Questions countering the Goebbelsian untruths surrounding the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula


Did or did not the central minister of the BJP, Bandaru Dattatreya write to Irani on August 17, 2015, a letter in which he clearly calls the activities and vision of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) as casteist and anti-national?  Letter can be seen here.

Was or was not Rohith Vemula’s Research Fellowship stopped (illegally) for seven months severely constraining and humiliating him?

Did or did not, on five occasions, bureaucrats of the MHRD under Irani write directly to the Vice Chancellor (VC) Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on the matter showing an unseemly interest in the case ?

(The letters are dated September 3, 2015 from the Under Secretary referring to comments by Bandaru Dattatreya, MOS, for Labour and Employment; another dated September 24, 2015, sent as reminder, signed by Deputy Secretary to the GOI; letter dated October 20, 2015, signed by Joint Secretary, MHRD; letter dated November 19, 2015, signed by Under Secretary to the GOI). Letters can be seen here.

Do or do not these letters show an obsessive interest by the Minister, MHRD that was, in effect, putting extraordinary pressure on the VC?

Is it or is it not true that a fellow student at HCU called the Health Centre immediately after learning of Rohith being hanged and within five minutes the CMO Health Centre, Dr P Rajashree reached the spot, felt his pulse and declared him dead nullifying the Goebellian lie to the nation in Parliament that no doctor or police were allowed to see Rohith till the next day? 
[The doctor certified Rohith's death at 7.30 pm: UoH medical officer counters Smriti Irani's statement - http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/doctor-certified-rohiths-death-730-pm-uoh-medical-officer-counters-smriti-iranis-statement#sthash.tdp9MlM4.dpuf]

Is it not true that Rohith Vemula was quietly cremated without family or friends as the authorities did not want to face up to the palpable anger on campus and outside?
 
Did or did not the newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao receive a chilling letter from Rohith Vemula on December 18, 2015 –a month before his death --that clearly indicated a warning: that by the systematic exclusion and humiliation Rohith was being pushed, and reaching, the end of his tether?

[Rohith allegedly sarcastically said in the letter that every VC of HCU should “10 mg of sodium azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission… [and] a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students.” This handwritten letter should have been read as a precursor to what was coming. In the letter, Rohith allegedly goes on to say, “I request your highness to make preparations for the facility [of] ‘euthanasia’ for students like me. And I wish you and the campus rest in peace forever.” ]

Does or does this communication not squarely put the blame on the university authorities and, first and foremost, on the vice chancellor ?
[The letter traces the officially sanctioned “social boycott” of Dalit students after they took on a member of the ABVP for making derogatory remarks about Dalits. “Donald Trump will be a lilliput in front of you..”]




Did or does the VC feel at all disturbed by this communication? Does the GOI? Was there any communication between the VC, HCU authorities and Rohith and the other four research scholars between December 18, 2015 and January 17, 2016?

Were or were not the five Dalit Research scholars locked out of their rooms from January 4, 2016 onwards, compelling them to start a protest and sleep out, on the street, rubbing salt on wounds so to speak: since their research fellowship stipends had been illegally cut off from July 2015 onwards?

Were or were not the five Dalit scholars ostracised on campus and asked not even to visit the library for research, further humiliating them?

Is it or is it not true that senior functionaries of the GOI, including two central ministers (both women) have questioned the authenticity of Dalit identity of Rohith? link[4] (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rohith-Vemula-was-not-a-dalit-Sushma-Swaraj-says/articleshow/50788780.cms)

After January 17, 2016 and the tragic step that Rohith Vemula took, did or did not the GOI appoint Ajit Duval, National security Advisor the Task to investigate the real caste of Rohith Vemula?  (See Certificates)
[http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ajit-Doval-gets-report-saying-Rohith-Vemula-was-not-a-dalit/articleshow/50749810.cms; also see http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/was-rohith-vemula-dalit-or-not-and-does-it-matter-explained-37936]

Did the trail not begin politically: with the Vice President, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Hyderabad,  Nandanam Diwakar writing to Central minister Dattareya, (August 10, 2015), seven days before the latter writes to Irani, a letter in which wrong and exaggerated accounts of ABVP student, Susheel Kumar’s injuries are given as well as a litany of political opposition to Ambedkarites listed? Here is the letter.





Is it not true that the claim that the University’s Investigation Team had a Dalit is untrue (Irani’s claim); there were no Dalits in the team and it was in fact headed by a Brahmin?

Is it or is it not true that all claims that ABVP student leader, Susheel Kumar “was beaten up by Rohith”, made repeatedly are actually, are untrue; HCU registrar and others have rejected Susheel Kumar’s story on violence relying on medical reports show that he was admitted to hospital for appendicitis?

 Is it not true that the executive council of HCU only decided to suspend the students, that too from their hostels (Irani said they were expelled by the EC!) and that the trigger was a falsified account of a physical struggle between the RSS-affiliated ABVP and the ASA; with the former screaming “assault” and the hospital records suggesting an examination for a prior medical condition?


While Irani was giving what some have termed as a star performance in the Lok Sabha– even India’s prime minister tweeted his jubiliation at her speech-- Rohith Vemula's mother, Radhika, was at a candlelight vigil at India Gate demanding justice for her  26-year-old son. Radhika Vemula was picked up and taken to a police station in the heart of the capital when Smriti Irani was telling Parliament how condemnable it was that a "child was being used as a political tool".



Close to a month before, in a similar act the MHRD minister, Irani had, in a press conference, claimed that Rohith’s death had nothing to do with his being a Dalit.

Then Radhika Vemula had countered and I today recall those words, "I want to meet Smriti Irani and ask her 'On what basis did you declare my son to be anti-national? Your Ministry had written that my Rohith and other Dalit students were anti-national extremists. You said that he is not a Dalit. You accused him of getting a false certificate. Should I say it is because you got false certificates for your educational qualifications that you think others do so too? You stopped my son's stipend, you got him suspended from the university. You are the Minister for HRD, but you have no value for education. You can never understand how difficult it is for a Dalit to reach the stage of doing his PhD. You can never imagine the hardship, the struggle, the tears and sacrifice to reach that position. In three months, you destroyed what it had taken me 26 years to build. I am talking about my Rohith, he died at the age of 26.'"

Goebbelsian as the propaganda machine is, I do not really expect answers. There are two parallel streams at work here, one asserting, the other challenging the Indian Constitution. The war between truth, reality and propaganda is well and truly on.
 


[1] http://www.abplive.in/india-news/a-fact-check-on-what-smriti-irani-said-in-parliament-295872
[2] For the record, the writer of this article was mentioned by the Hon’ble Minister in her speech leading to several calls from the media: there were falsifications, probably deliberate here too: the Supplemenatry materials for teachers of the Don Bosco schools were prepared by me (the author of this article) in 2001; not when Kapil Sibal was a Minister; it was the Shiv Sena that had then taken objections to the manner in which Shivaji's Coronation was dealt with in the manuals.the author of the manuals has an adjudication in her favour from the State Human Rights Commission.
[4] http://www.firstpost.com/india/after-widespread-outrage-smriti-irani-claims-rohith-suicide-not-dalit-vs-non-dalit-matter-2591830.html; http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/smriti-irani-spoke-of-this-child-his-mother-wants-answers-1281036

Calling Smriti Irani's Bluff: Twisted Truths in Parliament

First published on February 25, 2016



Goebbels was an interesting and effective man. Held responsible for many of the worst and most supremacist and violent ideas that guided Fuhrer Hitler’s reign, he is recalled in history, more as a frequently used adjective-term, to connote a particular kind of pernicious government propaganda based on lies, or at best half-truths (he headed the Propaganda Ministry of the Nazi government).

Goebbelsian propaganda has been the forte of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and was palpably evident in Minister, MHRD, Smriti Irani’s speech in the Lok Sabha yesterday, February 24,2016.

The broader issues raised in the speech by the Union Minister for Human Resources Development (MHRD) have already been effectively countered in The Telegraph : A [1]Fact Check on what HRD minister Smruti Irani said in Parliament [2] including countering systematic efforts at vilification and name calling.[3]

Here we put some Questions countering the Goebbelsian untruths surrounding the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula


Did or did not the central minister of the BJP, Bandaru Dattatreya write to Irani on August 17, 2015, a letter in which he clearly calls the activities and vision of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) as casteist and anti-national?  Letter can be seen here.

Was or was not Rohith Vemula’s Research Fellowship stopped (illegally) for seven months severely constraining and humiliating him?

Did or did not, on five occasions, bureaucrats of the MHRD under Irani write directly to the Vice Chancellor (VC) Hyderabad Central University (HCU) on the matter showing an unseemly interest in the case ?

(The letters are dated September 3, 2015 from the Under Secretary referring to comments by Bandaru Dattatreya, MOS, for Labour and Employment; another dated September 24, 2015, sent as reminder, signed by Deputy Secretary to the GOI; letter dated October 20, 2015, signed by Joint Secretary, MHRD; letter dated November 19, 2015, signed by Under Secretary to the GOI). Letters can be seen here.

Do or do not these letters show an obsessive interest by the Minister, MHRD that was, in effect, putting extraordinary pressure on the VC?

Is it or is it not true that a fellow student at HCU called the Health Centre immediately after learning of Rohith being hanged and within five minutes the CMO Health Centre, Dr P Rajashree reached the spot, felt his pulse and declared him dead nullifying the Goebellian lie to the nation in Parliament that no doctor or police were allowed to see Rohith till the next day? 
[The doctor certified Rohith's death at 7.30 pm: UoH medical officer counters Smriti Irani's statement - http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/doctor-certified-rohiths-death-730-pm-uoh-medical-officer-counters-smriti-iranis-statement#sthash.tdp9MlM4.dpuf]

Is it not true that Rohith Vemula was quietly cremated without family or friends as the authorities did not want to face up to the palpable anger on campus and outside?
 
Did or did not the newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao receive a chilling letter from Rohith Vemula on December 18, 2015 –a month before his death --that clearly indicated a warning: that by the systematic exclusion and humiliation Rohith was being pushed, and reaching, the end of his tether?

[Rohith allegedly sarcastically said in the letter that every VC of HCU should “10 mg of sodium azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission… [and] a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalit students.” This handwritten letter should have been read as a precursor to what was coming. In the letter, Rohith allegedly goes on to say, “I request your highness to make preparations for the facility [of] ‘euthanasia’ for students like me. And I wish you and the campus rest in peace forever.” ]

Does or does this communication not squarely put the blame on the university authorities and, first and foremost, on the vice chancellor ?
[The letter traces the officially sanctioned “social boycott” of Dalit students after they took on a member of the ABVP for making derogatory remarks about Dalits. “Donald Trump will be a lilliput in front of you..”]




Did or does the VC feel at all disturbed by this communication? Does the GOI? Was there any communication between the VC, HCU authorities and Rohith and the other four research scholars between December 18, 2015 and January 17, 2016?

Were or were not the five Dalit Research scholars locked out of their rooms from January 4, 2016 onwards, compelling them to start a protest and sleep out, on the street, rubbing salt on wounds so to speak: since their research fellowship stipends had been illegally cut off from July 2015 onwards?

Were or were not the five Dalit scholars ostracised on campus and asked not even to visit the library for research, further humiliating them?

Is it or is it not true that senior functionaries of the GOI, including two central ministers (both women) have questioned the authenticity of Dalit identity of Rohith? link[4] (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Rohith-Vemula-was-not-a-dalit-Sushma-Swaraj-says/articleshow/50788780.cms)

After January 17, 2016 and the tragic step that Rohith Vemula took, did or did not the GOI appoint Ajit Duval, National security Advisor the Task to investigate the real caste of Rohith Vemula?  (See Certificates)
[http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Ajit-Doval-gets-report-saying-Rohith-Vemula-was-not-a-dalit/articleshow/50749810.cms; also see http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/was-rohith-vemula-dalit-or-not-and-does-it-matter-explained-37936]

Did the trail not begin politically: with the Vice President, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Hyderabad,  Nandanam Diwakar writing to Central minister Dattareya, (August 10, 2015), seven days before the latter writes to Irani, a letter in which wrong and exaggerated accounts of ABVP student, Susheel Kumar’s injuries are given as well as a litany of political opposition to Ambedkarites listed? Here is the letter.





Is it not true that the claim that the University’s Investigation Team had a Dalit is untrue (Irani’s claim); there were no Dalits in the team and it was in fact headed by a Brahmin?

Is it or is it not true that all claims that ABVP student leader, Susheel Kumar “was beaten up by Rohith”, made repeatedly are actually, are untrue; HCU registrar and others have rejected Susheel Kumar’s story on violence relying on medical reports show that he was admitted to hospital for appendicitis?

 Is it not true that the executive council of HCU only decided to suspend the students, that too from their hostels (Irani said they were expelled by the EC!) and that the trigger was a falsified account of a physical struggle between the RSS-affiliated ABVP and the ASA; with the former screaming “assault” and the hospital records suggesting an examination for a prior medical condition?


While Irani was giving what some have termed as a star performance in the Lok Sabha– even India’s prime minister tweeted his jubiliation at her speech-- Rohith Vemula's mother, Radhika, was at a candlelight vigil at India Gate demanding justice for her  26-year-old son. Radhika Vemula was picked up and taken to a police station in the heart of the capital when Smriti Irani was telling Parliament how condemnable it was that a "child was being used as a political tool".



Close to a month before, in a similar act the MHRD minister, Irani had, in a press conference, claimed that Rohith’s death had nothing to do with his being a Dalit.

Then Radhika Vemula had countered and I today recall those words, "I want to meet Smriti Irani and ask her 'On what basis did you declare my son to be anti-national? Your Ministry had written that my Rohith and other Dalit students were anti-national extremists. You said that he is not a Dalit. You accused him of getting a false certificate. Should I say it is because you got false certificates for your educational qualifications that you think others do so too? You stopped my son's stipend, you got him suspended from the university. You are the Minister for HRD, but you have no value for education. You can never understand how difficult it is for a Dalit to reach the stage of doing his PhD. You can never imagine the hardship, the struggle, the tears and sacrifice to reach that position. In three months, you destroyed what it had taken me 26 years to build. I am talking about my Rohith, he died at the age of 26.'"

Goebbelsian as the propaganda machine is, I do not really expect answers. There are two parallel streams at work here, one asserting, the other challenging the Indian Constitution. The war between truth, reality and propaganda is well and truly on.
 


[1] http://www.abplive.in/india-news/a-fact-check-on-what-smriti-irani-said-in-parliament-295872
[2] For the record, the writer of this article was mentioned by the Hon’ble Minister in her speech leading to several calls from the media: there were falsifications, probably deliberate here too: the Supplemenatry materials for teachers of the Don Bosco schools were prepared by me (the author of this article) in 2001; not when Kapil Sibal was a Minister; it was the Shiv Sena that had then taken objections to the manner in which Shivaji's Coronation was dealt with in the manuals.the author of the manuals has an adjudication in her favour from the State Human Rights Commission.
[4] http://www.firstpost.com/india/after-widespread-outrage-smriti-irani-claims-rohith-suicide-not-dalit-vs-non-dalit-matter-2591830.html; http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/smriti-irani-spoke-of-this-child-his-mother-wants-answers-1281036

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Sabrang

At the Pyre of Caste Hatred: Dalit suicides and the Media

16 Jan 2020

First Published on February 3, 2016


 
This article was written by  Shahina Nafeesa in Azhimukham. The translation is by Renu Ramanath


2010 September: To reach the village of Chinthula in Ranga Reddy District you have to travel around 60 kilometers from Hyderabad. That journey was in search of the home of R. Balaraj, who had been a Ph.D Scholar at the Central University of Hyderabad (HCU). Balraj was researching on Telugu Literature. During the second year of his Ph.D. Balraj hung himself to death. He would have become the first Ph.D. holder from his community, even from his locality. In the tiny, two-roomed house made of laterite there were Balraj’s father, mother, two sisters and brother. He was the only literate one in the household. All others did their caste occupation: tethering cattle.

The broken voice of Balraj’s mother Yadamma still echoes in the ears. She took out her son’s certificates one by one and showed them to me. Mark lists from the school onwards. Certificates carrying marks higher than distinction. From the 10th standard till post-graduation.

Rohith Vemula dreamt of writing like Carl Sagan. What was the dream of Balraj, who was researching in Telugu Literature ? His dreams are not even recorded. He had hung himself to death on a tree near his home. It’s not known whether there was a suicide note. His friend Vinod Kumar said Balraj was distressed from the very first year of the Ph.D. work.

During the first year, he was not given a supervisor. A professor used to insult him citing his caste. One day, he had reached the hostel in a totally despondent way. That day, he had told Vinod that the professor had asked him whether he could go to drive the cattle.

I went to the Chinthula Police Station. From the police records I could find that an FIR had been registered against the professor on charges of abetting the suicide. However, the Station House Officer informed me that the case was not proceeded against as there were no ‘evidences.’  The file was closed. Knowing that it would have been useless to ask him more questions, I left the police station.

Amaravathy, a Dalit girl, who was the national Boxing champion, poisoned herself in the hostel room of the Sports Academy. I met Amaravathi’s mother Lakshmi in a single room house in a narrow street of Hyderabad. She had sent her daughter to school while working as a maid. Learning of my arrival, she came to meet me from the house where she was working, in her soiled clothes. With tears in her eyes, she regretted having sent her daughter to the Sports Academy. She had to face heavy insults in the name of her caste. The coach hated Amaravathy. He would often ignore and insult her. Amaravathy took her life during the preparations for the national and international competitions.

Amaravathy’s certificates and medals lay on a wooden bench in a corner of the house. There was a large photo of Amaravathy standing in the boxing ring. The brilliant strength she displayed in the ring did not come to her help. That strength was not enough to overcome the pyre of caste hatred. Amaravathy had many victories under her belt, to her account. But, each of her failures was added on account of her caste. In each failure, she was insulted on the basis of her caste.

This fact had been revealed during the fact finding mission conducted by the National Dalit Forum regarding her death. Amaravathy’s mother’s face bears signs of where tear marks had dried up. Her endless guilt for the daughter. The question, did my daughter yearn for something undeserving…
This still lies raw, along with the thousands of wounds being inflicted during the course of a career in journalism.

Senthil Kumar, who was a Ph.D. Scholar in Physics, at Central University, Hyderabad, hanged himself in February, 2008. Like Balraj, Senthil who hailed from Salem, was also the first person to gain higher education from his community. Their caste profession was rearing pigs. Even after the first year, Senthil was not assigned to a supervisor. He had to pass in one of the four papers as part of the course work. His fellowship was stopped due that reason. This fact was also published on the notice board. Senthil had faced severe financial difficulties as the fellowship was stopped. His friends later said that the public announcement that appeared on the notice board that his fellowship would be cut as he failed in the course work had caused him great distress.

Prof. Sayid E. Hassan, who was the then Vice Chancellor at HCU, refused to accept that caste-based discrimination had led to the death of Senthil. His argument was that such an assumption could not be drawn. He tried to convince me that the Dalits had access to many opportunities in the Central University and that almost fifty percent of students were from Dalit communities. I just listened to him as it was not my job to argue with the VC and also because I had no strength left for the task. It is not easy to communicate with those who ask for evidence for caste-based discrimination. Such discrimination has to be experienced. Communication is just impossible especially with those who feign ignorance.

There was a large photo of Amaravathy standing in the boxing ring. The brilliant strength she displayed in the ring did not come to her help. That strength was not enough to overcome the pyre of caste hatred.

Anusha, who was a last year B.Com student at the Villa Mary College in Somajiguda committed suicide by jumping from the top of the college building. In November, 2009. The college was known as ‘College of Royal Girls.’ That a Dalit girl like Anusha had happened to reach there was another ‘fatal accident.’ She had no friends there. And she sat all alone on a bench. No ‘Royal Girls’ wanted to sit with Anusha. None of the teachers questioned this. At the end of the terrible ignominy, Anusha found a solution. In Rohith Vemula’s words, Anusha’s existence was reduced to that of a single identity. She must have experienced real isolation on that large bench.

It is not only the students who have complaints. The teachers from the Dalit community also have much to say.

Dr. K.Y.Ratnam, who was a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, at University of Hyderabad (he must still be there). His duty as the hostel warden was suddenly handed over to another teacher, of course a ‘Savarna.’ Instead, he was assigned the duty of sanitation. I still remember his words, ‘The caste statement in this action may not be understood by learning the theories of Political Science or Sociology alone.’  This teached told me that day that he does not know how someone can ever be convinced of these facts through arguments.

An Adivasi girl from Warankal who was an M.A. student in German Studies at English and Foreign Languages University tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. She was saved by the local people. That was in August, 2010. After getting all the papers in the first and second semesters, she had failed in some papers in the Third Semester. With that, her stipend had been stopped. Unable to bear with the humiliation and isolation, she tried to end her life on a railway track.

It was in the background of these instances that I had set out on the journey to write on the Dalit – Adivasi persecution that was happening within the higher education sector. At the time, I was working for Tehelka. I met many Dalit organisation workers and activists in Andhra Pradesh. The studies they had conducted, the wounds they had experienced, the cases that had to be abandoned helplessly due to a ‘lack of evidence’.

However, that story which I filed, carrying so many details, was not published. It seems that what happened can be recounted now as the unquestioned dominance of Tehelka led by Tarun Tejpal has eroded; also because those who were celebrated as flag bearers of justice later turned out to be agents of injustice and misappropriation of power. The editor who was my reporting authority wrote off this story at the first reading itself. His argument was that there was no evidence to prove that these suicides were due to caste discrimination. He was a Brahmin. Later he left Tehelka and became Editor of an online portal. I do now know where he is at present.

I tried to argue that caste hatred was an experience and that recounting it may lack recorded evidence. But I could not convince him. No one takes as evidence the tears of parents who have lost their children. I know that very well.

The FIR retrieved from the heap of files in Chinthula Police Station (they may have pushed that file heap for me to see since they were sure that it was not going to harm anyone), the fact-finding missions conducted by the National Dalit Forum into the deaths of Anusha and Amaravathy, the experiences of the Dalit activists in Hyderabad, the statements given by the activists of Ambedkar Students Association, or the experiences narrated by the teachers at Central University, Hyderabad or EFLU or Osmania University were simply not accepted evidence.

As Dr. Rathnam said, how could these wounds be shown to others ? Could the martyrdom of Rohith have convinced him of this ? During a time when the farmers’ suicides were happening in succession, a senior journalist in New Delhi had commented with despair: ‘We’re working with people who have no scruples to ask why the farmer should commit suicide because the cotton crop failed, couldn’t they do cauliflower farming ? !’

Dear Rohith. May be, those who were unable to understand why Senthil or Balraj or Anusha or Amaravathy committed suicide would understand why, a little bit at least, now. They would understand it because of your martyrdom, and only because of that.

That poem which you wrote, immortalising life and death, would certainly have frightened them. Sure. In a way, I too am indebted to you. As a failed journalist. Your political standpoints, the marks you left on all battle fronts, that letter which you wrote to the Vice Chancellor, and this last poem from you – all this is evidence. Evidence, that those among us who failed, need to file away and keep safely. I had nothing with me to show those who asked for evidence then, that the deaths of Senthil, Amaravathy and Balraj, lay at the pyre of caste. Now, you have marked them as well, through your own death.

It was tough for me making a headway in the world of the English media, overruled by Brahmanism, shifting over from Malayalam journalism. For someone coming from a small town in India, studying in the Malayalam medium, at a Government school, language alone was not enough to survive in a metro. I did not have the cultural capital to make my point with an editor who spread the aura of Brahmanism through both language and body language. I could never be the Editor’s Blue-Eyed-Girl. Now I know that I need not be. And now I am proud of not being that.

Rohith, editors who hold the pen like a chisel in trembling hands to re-place the Babri Masjid in place of the controversial building erected, are a minority. I too had felt the same way as you, in those days. I too had felt many times that I too was a ‘fatal accident.’ But, now I know that you and me are right. Not them. Not them, by any means.

Let me dedicate this report that has not seen the light of the day, to you.

At the Pyre of Caste Hatred: Dalit suicides and the Media

First Published on February 3, 2016


 
This article was written by  Shahina Nafeesa in Azhimukham. The translation is by Renu Ramanath


2010 September: To reach the village of Chinthula in Ranga Reddy District you have to travel around 60 kilometers from Hyderabad. That journey was in search of the home of R. Balaraj, who had been a Ph.D Scholar at the Central University of Hyderabad (HCU). Balraj was researching on Telugu Literature. During the second year of his Ph.D. Balraj hung himself to death. He would have become the first Ph.D. holder from his community, even from his locality. In the tiny, two-roomed house made of laterite there were Balraj’s father, mother, two sisters and brother. He was the only literate one in the household. All others did their caste occupation: tethering cattle.

The broken voice of Balraj’s mother Yadamma still echoes in the ears. She took out her son’s certificates one by one and showed them to me. Mark lists from the school onwards. Certificates carrying marks higher than distinction. From the 10th standard till post-graduation.

Rohith Vemula dreamt of writing like Carl Sagan. What was the dream of Balraj, who was researching in Telugu Literature ? His dreams are not even recorded. He had hung himself to death on a tree near his home. It’s not known whether there was a suicide note. His friend Vinod Kumar said Balraj was distressed from the very first year of the Ph.D. work.

During the first year, he was not given a supervisor. A professor used to insult him citing his caste. One day, he had reached the hostel in a totally despondent way. That day, he had told Vinod that the professor had asked him whether he could go to drive the cattle.

I went to the Chinthula Police Station. From the police records I could find that an FIR had been registered against the professor on charges of abetting the suicide. However, the Station House Officer informed me that the case was not proceeded against as there were no ‘evidences.’  The file was closed. Knowing that it would have been useless to ask him more questions, I left the police station.

Amaravathy, a Dalit girl, who was the national Boxing champion, poisoned herself in the hostel room of the Sports Academy. I met Amaravathi’s mother Lakshmi in a single room house in a narrow street of Hyderabad. She had sent her daughter to school while working as a maid. Learning of my arrival, she came to meet me from the house where she was working, in her soiled clothes. With tears in her eyes, she regretted having sent her daughter to the Sports Academy. She had to face heavy insults in the name of her caste. The coach hated Amaravathy. He would often ignore and insult her. Amaravathy took her life during the preparations for the national and international competitions.

Amaravathy’s certificates and medals lay on a wooden bench in a corner of the house. There was a large photo of Amaravathy standing in the boxing ring. The brilliant strength she displayed in the ring did not come to her help. That strength was not enough to overcome the pyre of caste hatred. Amaravathy had many victories under her belt, to her account. But, each of her failures was added on account of her caste. In each failure, she was insulted on the basis of her caste.

This fact had been revealed during the fact finding mission conducted by the National Dalit Forum regarding her death. Amaravathy’s mother’s face bears signs of where tear marks had dried up. Her endless guilt for the daughter. The question, did my daughter yearn for something undeserving…
This still lies raw, along with the thousands of wounds being inflicted during the course of a career in journalism.

Senthil Kumar, who was a Ph.D. Scholar in Physics, at Central University, Hyderabad, hanged himself in February, 2008. Like Balraj, Senthil who hailed from Salem, was also the first person to gain higher education from his community. Their caste profession was rearing pigs. Even after the first year, Senthil was not assigned to a supervisor. He had to pass in one of the four papers as part of the course work. His fellowship was stopped due that reason. This fact was also published on the notice board. Senthil had faced severe financial difficulties as the fellowship was stopped. His friends later said that the public announcement that appeared on the notice board that his fellowship would be cut as he failed in the course work had caused him great distress.

Prof. Sayid E. Hassan, who was the then Vice Chancellor at HCU, refused to accept that caste-based discrimination had led to the death of Senthil. His argument was that such an assumption could not be drawn. He tried to convince me that the Dalits had access to many opportunities in the Central University and that almost fifty percent of students were from Dalit communities. I just listened to him as it was not my job to argue with the VC and also because I had no strength left for the task. It is not easy to communicate with those who ask for evidence for caste-based discrimination. Such discrimination has to be experienced. Communication is just impossible especially with those who feign ignorance.

There was a large photo of Amaravathy standing in the boxing ring. The brilliant strength she displayed in the ring did not come to her help. That strength was not enough to overcome the pyre of caste hatred.

Anusha, who was a last year B.Com student at the Villa Mary College in Somajiguda committed suicide by jumping from the top of the college building. In November, 2009. The college was known as ‘College of Royal Girls.’ That a Dalit girl like Anusha had happened to reach there was another ‘fatal accident.’ She had no friends there. And she sat all alone on a bench. No ‘Royal Girls’ wanted to sit with Anusha. None of the teachers questioned this. At the end of the terrible ignominy, Anusha found a solution. In Rohith Vemula’s words, Anusha’s existence was reduced to that of a single identity. She must have experienced real isolation on that large bench.

It is not only the students who have complaints. The teachers from the Dalit community also have much to say.

Dr. K.Y.Ratnam, who was a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, at University of Hyderabad (he must still be there). His duty as the hostel warden was suddenly handed over to another teacher, of course a ‘Savarna.’ Instead, he was assigned the duty of sanitation. I still remember his words, ‘The caste statement in this action may not be understood by learning the theories of Political Science or Sociology alone.’  This teached told me that day that he does not know how someone can ever be convinced of these facts through arguments.

An Adivasi girl from Warankal who was an M.A. student in German Studies at English and Foreign Languages University tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train. She was saved by the local people. That was in August, 2010. After getting all the papers in the first and second semesters, she had failed in some papers in the Third Semester. With that, her stipend had been stopped. Unable to bear with the humiliation and isolation, she tried to end her life on a railway track.

It was in the background of these instances that I had set out on the journey to write on the Dalit – Adivasi persecution that was happening within the higher education sector. At the time, I was working for Tehelka. I met many Dalit organisation workers and activists in Andhra Pradesh. The studies they had conducted, the wounds they had experienced, the cases that had to be abandoned helplessly due to a ‘lack of evidence’.

However, that story which I filed, carrying so many details, was not published. It seems that what happened can be recounted now as the unquestioned dominance of Tehelka led by Tarun Tejpal has eroded; also because those who were celebrated as flag bearers of justice later turned out to be agents of injustice and misappropriation of power. The editor who was my reporting authority wrote off this story at the first reading itself. His argument was that there was no evidence to prove that these suicides were due to caste discrimination. He was a Brahmin. Later he left Tehelka and became Editor of an online portal. I do now know where he is at present.

I tried to argue that caste hatred was an experience and that recounting it may lack recorded evidence. But I could not convince him. No one takes as evidence the tears of parents who have lost their children. I know that very well.

The FIR retrieved from the heap of files in Chinthula Police Station (they may have pushed that file heap for me to see since they were sure that it was not going to harm anyone), the fact-finding missions conducted by the National Dalit Forum into the deaths of Anusha and Amaravathy, the experiences of the Dalit activists in Hyderabad, the statements given by the activists of Ambedkar Students Association, or the experiences narrated by the teachers at Central University, Hyderabad or EFLU or Osmania University were simply not accepted evidence.

As Dr. Rathnam said, how could these wounds be shown to others ? Could the martyrdom of Rohith have convinced him of this ? During a time when the farmers’ suicides were happening in succession, a senior journalist in New Delhi had commented with despair: ‘We’re working with people who have no scruples to ask why the farmer should commit suicide because the cotton crop failed, couldn’t they do cauliflower farming ? !’

Dear Rohith. May be, those who were unable to understand why Senthil or Balraj or Anusha or Amaravathy committed suicide would understand why, a little bit at least, now. They would understand it because of your martyrdom, and only because of that.

That poem which you wrote, immortalising life and death, would certainly have frightened them. Sure. In a way, I too am indebted to you. As a failed journalist. Your political standpoints, the marks you left on all battle fronts, that letter which you wrote to the Vice Chancellor, and this last poem from you – all this is evidence. Evidence, that those among us who failed, need to file away and keep safely. I had nothing with me to show those who asked for evidence then, that the deaths of Senthil, Amaravathy and Balraj, lay at the pyre of caste. Now, you have marked them as well, through your own death.

It was tough for me making a headway in the world of the English media, overruled by Brahmanism, shifting over from Malayalam journalism. For someone coming from a small town in India, studying in the Malayalam medium, at a Government school, language alone was not enough to survive in a metro. I did not have the cultural capital to make my point with an editor who spread the aura of Brahmanism through both language and body language. I could never be the Editor’s Blue-Eyed-Girl. Now I know that I need not be. And now I am proud of not being that.

Rohith, editors who hold the pen like a chisel in trembling hands to re-place the Babri Masjid in place of the controversial building erected, are a minority. I too had felt the same way as you, in those days. I too had felt many times that I too was a ‘fatal accident.’ But, now I know that you and me are right. Not them. Not them, by any means.

Let me dedicate this report that has not seen the light of the day, to you.

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Rohith’s death: We are all to blame

16 Jan 2020

First published on January 19, 2016


 
Supply Sodium Cynanide and a Rope to every Dalit student-Rohit to the VC a month before he took his life

 
This letter, dated December 18, 2015 has not been so widely quoted nor has it gone viral. It is a comment on all of us, especially those of us in the media, that we failed to read the warnings or feel the anguish.  After all it is since August 2015 that the social boycott and ostracizing of Dalit students, including Rohith was systematically afoot. That is close to five months ago.
 
Nearly a month to the day that he tragically gave up the struggle to live and took his own life, on December 18, 2015, a hand-written letter from Rohith Vemula to Vice Chancellor Appa Rao says it all. Taunting and tragic, the note will now be read as a precursor of what was to come. In a hand-written scrawl that hints at acute desperation, he says, “Your Excellency (addressed to the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao) “make preparations for the EUTHANASIA for students like me from the Ambedkarite movement…and may your campus rest in peace forever.”
 
The letter traces the officially sanctioned “social boycott” of Dalit students after they took on a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for his derogatory remarks to the Dalit students. “Donald Trump will be a Lilliput in front of you,” Rohith tells Appa Rao then offering a piece of chilling advice. “Please serve 10 miligram of Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission…Supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalits students..”The text of the letter can be read here and a scanned hand written copy seen here.

   


Now we know, and fret over the fact that his Rs 25,000 per month stipend (as of all his other suspended colleagues) was stopped after suspension and he had to borrow money, even from home, to survive the struggle. Now that he is dead we listen to the plight and anguish of his family. Why did we not listen before? As the isolation and anguish built up to make Rohith take a step so final that it signalled no return? Yes, we are all to blame.

“After the stipend was stopped, his family was struggling to support him. He borrowed Rs 40,000 from a friend and was living frugally. Almost every day, he used to say that his money was stuck,’’ said Velmula Sankanna, a fellow PhD scholar and one of the other five students who were suspended. “In December, Rohith wrote an angry letter to the V-C, sarcastically asking him to provide euthanasia facilities for Dalit students. Since then, he was scared to go to the administration building and ask about his stipend. He became silent and withdrawn. He said that he was falling into depression because he was being defeated by the system at every turn. He blamed himself, his caste, and the circumstances around him. He did not take much interest in anything except studies,’’ added Sankanna, a close friend.

We did not rise to feel, see or appreciate the seriousness implicit in the warnings. In August 2015, a questionable mode of ‘suspension’ of five singled out students of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) followed by the arbitrary stopping of their scholarship stipend, further followed by their being locked out of their rooms from January 4, 2016. Yet they fought on, sleeping out near the shopping complex in the cold. Awaiting fair hearing, democratic space for protest(s) and justice.

From the night of January 4, 2016 until today the sleep out protests continue.
 
After the tragic and unnecessary loss of the life of a budding science scholar, a proud Ambedkarite, will justice and fair hearing happen? Yesterday in a fully articulated representation to PL Punia, Chairperson of the National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Commission, the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has demanded:
 

  • Punish the Culprits under the SC/ST Atrocities Act:
  • Banadaru Dattareya, Union Cabinet Minister of State for Labour and Employment 
  • P Appa Rao, Vice Chancellor
  • Professor Alok Pandey, Chief Proctor
  • Susheel Kumar, ABVP President
  • Ramchandra Rao, MLC 
  • Remove P Appa Rao from the post of Vice Chancellor
  • Employ a family member of Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad and give his family Rs 50 lahs in compensation
  • Drop the fabricated cases against five Dalit Research Scholars immediately and unconditionally
  • Revoke the suspension of Students immediately and unconditionally 

 
The Anger Spreads; Demands for resignation of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao
 
Anger and grief are potent combinations and both were visible in plenty at the mortuary of the Osmania Hospital on Monday, January 18 where Rohith Velumal lay, a day after he tragically ended his own life. His mother’s anguished cry says it all, ““I used to proudly tell everyone in my village that my son was doing PhD at Hyderabad University. Today, I have come to collect his dead body.’’ The family is from Gurazala near Guntur, his mother a tailor and father, Manikumar a security guard at the Hyderabad University. Rohith has two siblings, an elder sister and a younger brother.
 
Over 1200 students of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) participated in a rally on Monday evening and have resolved to protest on Tuesday, January 19 and not allow the university to function until the current Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao steps down. Before the rally, his close friends and colleagues, along with his family were present at the cremation of Rohith in Hyderabad. (see Image story)
 
Simultaneous and spontaneous protests continued through the day yesterday at Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Mumbai and Delhi. The road outside Shastri Bhavan, the office of Smriti Irani, the Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD) was cordoned off akin to a war zone (see pictures). In Hyderabad, a visit from the chairperson of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Commission allayed feelings somewhat.
 
Though it is Rohith is the one who has made the most recent and most tragic sacrifice, the question is whether it will still open India’s eyes and hearts?

We read every other day not just of the social boycott of Dalit children in the mid day meal schemes. In ‘Dravidian’ politics ruled Tamil Nadu colour bands on Dalit students brand them with their caste. There is little political, social or cultural outrage. The television channels, packed as they are with ‘journalists’ most of whom sport a myopic caste consciousness of the elite Indian that simply excludes any mention of discrimination or exclusion while badgering home ‘the banner of tolerance’, rarely flag anti-Dalit atrocities as an institutional ill to be faced squarely then remedied.
In ‘progressive’ west India the discrimination takes similar forms, and examples abound. In Phugana, three young Dalit children, one a baby was burnt alive in a burst of Rajput rage.

Just like the Blacks fought (and have barely won) the Civil Rights battle in the West – last year’s incidents at Fergusson are evidence of how thinly layered this success is –it is privileged India, caste Hindus who need to hang their heads in acknowledgement, first, and the, shame.
 
We need to internalize what Dalit students experience when they enter schools, colleges and universities and break the glass ceiling and enter India’s famed institutions of higher learning, the IITs, the IIMs and Universities.
 
Not only is the percentage of Dalit students who enter higher educational institutions small. They are subject to insidious caste practices and exclusion that batters the hard earned self-esteem. A dangerous argument of ‘meritocracy’ cloaks well organized money and caste induced privilege.

This everyday institutional and societal exclusion and othering needs to be acknowledged squarely by each and one of us.
 
It is time we ask difficult ourselves some hard and uncomfortable questions.
 
What kind of history do we teach? Who are our heroines and heroes?
How many Dalits are there in the media, print and television?
How many Dalits in Institutions of power and governance?
 
The Dalit experience says that entering the corridors of elite educational institutions like Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) and Indian Institute of Managements and Central Universities for scores of Dalit students is like walking into a living hell, where the fear of being shamed and humiliated hangs heavy on the heart and soul of every student.
 
Before Rohit, we lost Senthil Kumar and Nagaralu Koppalas, also in the Central University of Hyderabad. Have these earlier losses, deaths of young men in their prime been internalized and taught the UoH any lessons worth learning? The recent and continuing unfair suspension of Dalit scholars would appear to suggest that no lessons have yet been learned.
 
Is India willing ready and able to accept her Not So Hidden Apartheid?

Rohith’s death: We are all to blame

First published on January 19, 2016


 
Supply Sodium Cynanide and a Rope to every Dalit student-Rohit to the VC a month before he took his life

 
This letter, dated December 18, 2015 has not been so widely quoted nor has it gone viral. It is a comment on all of us, especially those of us in the media, that we failed to read the warnings or feel the anguish.  After all it is since August 2015 that the social boycott and ostracizing of Dalit students, including Rohith was systematically afoot. That is close to five months ago.
 
Nearly a month to the day that he tragically gave up the struggle to live and took his own life, on December 18, 2015, a hand-written letter from Rohith Vemula to Vice Chancellor Appa Rao says it all. Taunting and tragic, the note will now be read as a precursor of what was to come. In a hand-written scrawl that hints at acute desperation, he says, “Your Excellency (addressed to the Vice Chancellor Appa Rao) “make preparations for the EUTHANASIA for students like me from the Ambedkarite movement…and may your campus rest in peace forever.”
 
The letter traces the officially sanctioned “social boycott” of Dalit students after they took on a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for his derogatory remarks to the Dalit students. “Donald Trump will be a Lilliput in front of you,” Rohith tells Appa Rao then offering a piece of chilling advice. “Please serve 10 miligram of Sodium Azide to all the Dalit students at the time of admission…Supply a nice rope to the rooms of all Dalits students..”The text of the letter can be read here and a scanned hand written copy seen here.

   


Now we know, and fret over the fact that his Rs 25,000 per month stipend (as of all his other suspended colleagues) was stopped after suspension and he had to borrow money, even from home, to survive the struggle. Now that he is dead we listen to the plight and anguish of his family. Why did we not listen before? As the isolation and anguish built up to make Rohith take a step so final that it signalled no return? Yes, we are all to blame.

“After the stipend was stopped, his family was struggling to support him. He borrowed Rs 40,000 from a friend and was living frugally. Almost every day, he used to say that his money was stuck,’’ said Velmula Sankanna, a fellow PhD scholar and one of the other five students who were suspended. “In December, Rohith wrote an angry letter to the V-C, sarcastically asking him to provide euthanasia facilities for Dalit students. Since then, he was scared to go to the administration building and ask about his stipend. He became silent and withdrawn. He said that he was falling into depression because he was being defeated by the system at every turn. He blamed himself, his caste, and the circumstances around him. He did not take much interest in anything except studies,’’ added Sankanna, a close friend.

We did not rise to feel, see or appreciate the seriousness implicit in the warnings. In August 2015, a questionable mode of ‘suspension’ of five singled out students of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) followed by the arbitrary stopping of their scholarship stipend, further followed by their being locked out of their rooms from January 4, 2016. Yet they fought on, sleeping out near the shopping complex in the cold. Awaiting fair hearing, democratic space for protest(s) and justice.

From the night of January 4, 2016 until today the sleep out protests continue.
 
After the tragic and unnecessary loss of the life of a budding science scholar, a proud Ambedkarite, will justice and fair hearing happen? Yesterday in a fully articulated representation to PL Punia, Chairperson of the National Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Commission, the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, University of Hyderabad (UoH) has demanded:
 

  • Punish the Culprits under the SC/ST Atrocities Act:
  • Banadaru Dattareya, Union Cabinet Minister of State for Labour and Employment 
  • P Appa Rao, Vice Chancellor
  • Professor Alok Pandey, Chief Proctor
  • Susheel Kumar, ABVP President
  • Ramchandra Rao, MLC 
  • Remove P Appa Rao from the post of Vice Chancellor
  • Employ a family member of Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad and give his family Rs 50 lahs in compensation
  • Drop the fabricated cases against five Dalit Research Scholars immediately and unconditionally
  • Revoke the suspension of Students immediately and unconditionally 

 
The Anger Spreads; Demands for resignation of Vice Chancellor Appa Rao
 
Anger and grief are potent combinations and both were visible in plenty at the mortuary of the Osmania Hospital on Monday, January 18 where Rohith Velumal lay, a day after he tragically ended his own life. His mother’s anguished cry says it all, ““I used to proudly tell everyone in my village that my son was doing PhD at Hyderabad University. Today, I have come to collect his dead body.’’ The family is from Gurazala near Guntur, his mother a tailor and father, Manikumar a security guard at the Hyderabad University. Rohith has two siblings, an elder sister and a younger brother.
 
Over 1200 students of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) participated in a rally on Monday evening and have resolved to protest on Tuesday, January 19 and not allow the university to function until the current Vice Chancellor, Appa Rao steps down. Before the rally, his close friends and colleagues, along with his family were present at the cremation of Rohith in Hyderabad. (see Image story)
 
Simultaneous and spontaneous protests continued through the day yesterday at Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam, Mumbai and Delhi. The road outside Shastri Bhavan, the office of Smriti Irani, the Ministry for Human Resources Development (MHRD) was cordoned off akin to a war zone (see pictures). In Hyderabad, a visit from the chairperson of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Commission allayed feelings somewhat.
 
Though it is Rohith is the one who has made the most recent and most tragic sacrifice, the question is whether it will still open India’s eyes and hearts?

We read every other day not just of the social boycott of Dalit children in the mid day meal schemes. In ‘Dravidian’ politics ruled Tamil Nadu colour bands on Dalit students brand them with their caste. There is little political, social or cultural outrage. The television channels, packed as they are with ‘journalists’ most of whom sport a myopic caste consciousness of the elite Indian that simply excludes any mention of discrimination or exclusion while badgering home ‘the banner of tolerance’, rarely flag anti-Dalit atrocities as an institutional ill to be faced squarely then remedied.
In ‘progressive’ west India the discrimination takes similar forms, and examples abound. In Phugana, three young Dalit children, one a baby was burnt alive in a burst of Rajput rage.

Just like the Blacks fought (and have barely won) the Civil Rights battle in the West – last year’s incidents at Fergusson are evidence of how thinly layered this success is –it is privileged India, caste Hindus who need to hang their heads in acknowledgement, first, and the, shame.
 
We need to internalize what Dalit students experience when they enter schools, colleges and universities and break the glass ceiling and enter India’s famed institutions of higher learning, the IITs, the IIMs and Universities.
 
Not only is the percentage of Dalit students who enter higher educational institutions small. They are subject to insidious caste practices and exclusion that batters the hard earned self-esteem. A dangerous argument of ‘meritocracy’ cloaks well organized money and caste induced privilege.

This everyday institutional and societal exclusion and othering needs to be acknowledged squarely by each and one of us.
 
It is time we ask difficult ourselves some hard and uncomfortable questions.
 
What kind of history do we teach? Who are our heroines and heroes?
How many Dalits are there in the media, print and television?
How many Dalits in Institutions of power and governance?
 
The Dalit experience says that entering the corridors of elite educational institutions like Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) and Indian Institute of Managements and Central Universities for scores of Dalit students is like walking into a living hell, where the fear of being shamed and humiliated hangs heavy on the heart and soul of every student.
 
Before Rohit, we lost Senthil Kumar and Nagaralu Koppalas, also in the Central University of Hyderabad. Have these earlier losses, deaths of young men in their prime been internalized and taught the UoH any lessons worth learning? The recent and continuing unfair suspension of Dalit scholars would appear to suggest that no lessons have yet been learned.
 
Is India willing ready and able to accept her Not So Hidden Apartheid?

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Maha seeks to implement Delhi education model for civic schools

Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar praise efforts of the AAP seeking to replicate the success of the same in Maharashtra

15 Jan 2020

Ajit Pawar

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar on Monday announced that the state government has decided to adopt the Delhi model of education to enhance the quality of education imparted to the children studying in schools which come under the municipal corporations. The plan is to implement the model on a pilot basis in civic-run schools and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been asked to study the model and come up with a framework.

“Today, the Delhi school education model is considered to be the best in the country. The transformation in education system under the Delhi model needs a relook and should be replicated to raise the standard of education in Maharashtra,” he had said at a school education review meeting at the Mantralaya.

All praises for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s initiative, Pawar said, “The Delhi model will ensure both effective financial management and also better educational standards. Education is the government’s priority. The state government will ensure ordinary people are also provided quality education. There will be no paucity of funds for education of children. However, government will not tolerate misuse of funds for education of children. The government will not tolerate misuse of funds allocated for education. Every student, irrespective of his family income and category, is entitled to quality education, and the government is committed to accomplish this agenda.”

What the Delhi model of education is and why it is lauded by all

In 2019, the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, run by the Delhi government topped the India School Ranking for government day schools in the country. This was possible due to the government’s model of education – with effective in-school plans and provision of all the necessary aid needed for students’ success.

Moving away from dingy classrooms, brick walls, dirty toilets and the like, the Delhi government, headed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) revamped the face of education in the capital in a quick three years from 2015 – 2018. The credit for turning the system over on its head is given to by Rhodes Scholar Atishi Marlena, an alumna of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and Oxford University, UK who joined AAP as an advisor.

In the first step towards the ‘Education Revolution’, the government doubled the allocation in the budget, with Delhi allocating 22.8% of its total budget to education in the year 2016 – 17. However, this was just the first step. The work towards creating an exemplary model involved working on the four pillars – modernizing infrastructure, capacity building of school teachers and principals, making school administration accountable and improving learning outcomes.

1.       Modernizing Infrastructure – Seeing that there was an acute shortage of classrooms, AAP first worked to increase that number and built approximately 8,000 classrooms from 2015 – 2017. In 2017 – 18, it reached the number of 10,000 and added 21 more schools to accommodate students. It also created around 54 pilot schools with smart classrooms and better infrastructure and also appointed Estate Managers, fixed sanitation staff and other modern equipment to ensure that to aid the comfort of the students.

2.       Capacity building of Teaching Staff and Principals – To tackle low teacher retention, the party altered the model of training, giving workshops to over 20,000 teachers who were asked to create supplementary material for their subjects in groups under the supervision of facilitators. This peer-based learning experience made a world of a difference and the decision of making Principals meet with facilitators for a monthly dialogue only fostered the progress. Also, the Mentor Teacher program was begun where a cadre of 200 talented teachers were allocated to schools in groups of 5 or 6 to provide academic support to other teachers making them the bedrock of the education system.

3.       Making school administration accountable - To keep school administration accountable, surprise inspections were held, and the officials of the Directorate of Education were made to monitor and track the management of schools through a network of School Management Committees, pulling up and suspending anyone found guilty of purposeful negligence and corruption.

4.       Improving learning outcomes – The education department observed that many students who entered the secondary school were riddled with severe learning deficiencies. To tackle this, the government started the ‘Every Child Can Read’ campaign where apart from efforts by school teachers, the members of the community started ‘Reading Melas’ across the capital.

The government also brought in Chunauti 2018 – a reform aimed at reducing the dropout rate in schools, especially in Classes 6 to 9 to ensure that students who weren’t at their grade level were equipped with reading, writing and basic math competency to ensure the progress of children especially when they reach Class 9.

Also, through the DHE, the Delhi Higher Education Aid Trust decided to fully or partially reimburse the tuition fee paid by the students. The specifics of the same being –

(a) 100% tuition fee of the meritorious students belonging to economically weaker section i.e. wards of parent/s who possess relevant card issued under the National Food Security Scheme,

(b) 50% of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual family income up to Rs. 2.50 lakh and are not covered under the National Food Security Scheme,

(c) 25% reimbursement of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual income above Rs 2.50 lakh but below Rs 6 lakh. The qualifying aggregate percentage of marks for all three categories is 60%. A relaxation of 5% in qualifying aggregate percentage of marks will be allowed to SC/ST category students. The scheme will be administered and managed by the concerned Delhi state universities/institutions for themselves and for other colleges/institutions affiliated to them.

Apart from formal education, the education department also took care to provide transformative learning to understand psychological and social issues affecting students and working towards resolving them. One of the other most important aspects of the Education Revolution was getting students to understand and contribute to legal policy and for them to see how the law works in action, especially with regards to vulnerable communities.

The AAP now has many a thing to its credit. With innovative programmes that look towards bringing in wholesome development of students, they have set an example that has inspired the state of Maharashtra to follow suit.

This, especially at a time when the Central government is looked at with suspicion to constantly privatize education and turning a blind eye to the plight of government schools in the country. It also cut budgetary allocation for education from 0.64 percent in 2014 – 15 to 0.45 percent in 2019 – 20. The Centre also encouraged the practice of generating loans through the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) asking educational institutions to repay principal loans through internal funds; the same leading to massive fee hikes.

In contrast to this, the Delhi government has taken a route to stop students and parents from being exploited by private players, ensuring that civic schools address all the needs of the children without burning a hole in the parents’ pocket.

AAP has been lauded for its public-centered initiatives especially the enhancement of the education system. Its successes and staying true to its promises has created a trust factor in the people of Delhi. With top leaders being impressed with the work carried out in Delhi’s schools, will this bolster their campaign and cement their success in the upcoming Assembly elections?

 

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Exam failure major trigger for student suicides: NCRB
JNU‘s fee hike fight an eyesore for the admin and Govt.?
No benches, no drinking water for 400 students of BMC-run school

 

Maha seeks to implement Delhi education model for civic schools

Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar praise efforts of the AAP seeking to replicate the success of the same in Maharashtra

Ajit Pawar

Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar on Monday announced that the state government has decided to adopt the Delhi model of education to enhance the quality of education imparted to the children studying in schools which come under the municipal corporations. The plan is to implement the model on a pilot basis in civic-run schools and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been asked to study the model and come up with a framework.

“Today, the Delhi school education model is considered to be the best in the country. The transformation in education system under the Delhi model needs a relook and should be replicated to raise the standard of education in Maharashtra,” he had said at a school education review meeting at the Mantralaya.

All praises for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s initiative, Pawar said, “The Delhi model will ensure both effective financial management and also better educational standards. Education is the government’s priority. The state government will ensure ordinary people are also provided quality education. There will be no paucity of funds for education of children. However, government will not tolerate misuse of funds for education of children. The government will not tolerate misuse of funds allocated for education. Every student, irrespective of his family income and category, is entitled to quality education, and the government is committed to accomplish this agenda.”

What the Delhi model of education is and why it is lauded by all

In 2019, the Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, run by the Delhi government topped the India School Ranking for government day schools in the country. This was possible due to the government’s model of education – with effective in-school plans and provision of all the necessary aid needed for students’ success.

Moving away from dingy classrooms, brick walls, dirty toilets and the like, the Delhi government, headed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) revamped the face of education in the capital in a quick three years from 2015 – 2018. The credit for turning the system over on its head is given to by Rhodes Scholar Atishi Marlena, an alumna of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and Oxford University, UK who joined AAP as an advisor.

In the first step towards the ‘Education Revolution’, the government doubled the allocation in the budget, with Delhi allocating 22.8% of its total budget to education in the year 2016 – 17. However, this was just the first step. The work towards creating an exemplary model involved working on the four pillars – modernizing infrastructure, capacity building of school teachers and principals, making school administration accountable and improving learning outcomes.

1.       Modernizing Infrastructure – Seeing that there was an acute shortage of classrooms, AAP first worked to increase that number and built approximately 8,000 classrooms from 2015 – 2017. In 2017 – 18, it reached the number of 10,000 and added 21 more schools to accommodate students. It also created around 54 pilot schools with smart classrooms and better infrastructure and also appointed Estate Managers, fixed sanitation staff and other modern equipment to ensure that to aid the comfort of the students.

2.       Capacity building of Teaching Staff and Principals – To tackle low teacher retention, the party altered the model of training, giving workshops to over 20,000 teachers who were asked to create supplementary material for their subjects in groups under the supervision of facilitators. This peer-based learning experience made a world of a difference and the decision of making Principals meet with facilitators for a monthly dialogue only fostered the progress. Also, the Mentor Teacher program was begun where a cadre of 200 talented teachers were allocated to schools in groups of 5 or 6 to provide academic support to other teachers making them the bedrock of the education system.

3.       Making school administration accountable - To keep school administration accountable, surprise inspections were held, and the officials of the Directorate of Education were made to monitor and track the management of schools through a network of School Management Committees, pulling up and suspending anyone found guilty of purposeful negligence and corruption.

4.       Improving learning outcomes – The education department observed that many students who entered the secondary school were riddled with severe learning deficiencies. To tackle this, the government started the ‘Every Child Can Read’ campaign where apart from efforts by school teachers, the members of the community started ‘Reading Melas’ across the capital.

The government also brought in Chunauti 2018 – a reform aimed at reducing the dropout rate in schools, especially in Classes 6 to 9 to ensure that students who weren’t at their grade level were equipped with reading, writing and basic math competency to ensure the progress of children especially when they reach Class 9.

Also, through the DHE, the Delhi Higher Education Aid Trust decided to fully or partially reimburse the tuition fee paid by the students. The specifics of the same being –

(a) 100% tuition fee of the meritorious students belonging to economically weaker section i.e. wards of parent/s who possess relevant card issued under the National Food Security Scheme,

(b) 50% of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual family income up to Rs. 2.50 lakh and are not covered under the National Food Security Scheme,

(c) 25% reimbursement of tuition fee to meritorious students having annual income above Rs 2.50 lakh but below Rs 6 lakh. The qualifying aggregate percentage of marks for all three categories is 60%. A relaxation of 5% in qualifying aggregate percentage of marks will be allowed to SC/ST category students. The scheme will be administered and managed by the concerned Delhi state universities/institutions for themselves and for other colleges/institutions affiliated to them.

Apart from formal education, the education department also took care to provide transformative learning to understand psychological and social issues affecting students and working towards resolving them. One of the other most important aspects of the Education Revolution was getting students to understand and contribute to legal policy and for them to see how the law works in action, especially with regards to vulnerable communities.

The AAP now has many a thing to its credit. With innovative programmes that look towards bringing in wholesome development of students, they have set an example that has inspired the state of Maharashtra to follow suit.

This, especially at a time when the Central government is looked at with suspicion to constantly privatize education and turning a blind eye to the plight of government schools in the country. It also cut budgetary allocation for education from 0.64 percent in 2014 – 15 to 0.45 percent in 2019 – 20. The Centre also encouraged the practice of generating loans through the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) asking educational institutions to repay principal loans through internal funds; the same leading to massive fee hikes.

In contrast to this, the Delhi government has taken a route to stop students and parents from being exploited by private players, ensuring that civic schools address all the needs of the children without burning a hole in the parents’ pocket.

AAP has been lauded for its public-centered initiatives especially the enhancement of the education system. Its successes and staying true to its promises has created a trust factor in the people of Delhi. With top leaders being impressed with the work carried out in Delhi’s schools, will this bolster their campaign and cement their success in the upcoming Assembly elections?

 

Related:

Exam failure major trigger for student suicides: NCRB
JNU‘s fee hike fight an eyesore for the admin and Govt.?
No benches, no drinking water for 400 students of BMC-run school

 

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JNU Teachers refuse to resume work unless VC resigns

The VC’s retention has made matter worse for the University’s administration and students’ academics and future are at stake

14 Jan 2020

JNU VC

The crisis at JNU is only getting worse. The teachers’ association which is on strike has said that they will not resume academic activity on campus unless the Vice Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar resigns. There have been, indeed several demands for his resignation, coming not only from students but even a veteran BJP leader, Murli Manohar Joshi, Senior Congress leader BK Chandrashekhar and few media houses. Even Economist Amit Bhaduri who was JNU’s Emeritus professor, resigned in the light of the VC’s actions.

The attack by masked goons on the JNU campus left many students including JNUSU President and many teachers injured while several others were left fearing for their lives. All this while the VC took no action and the police looked on.

The University’s administration has gone on the offensive and said that the teachers’ non-cooperation call violates their service contract. In any case, classes could not be held across the various schools in the campus as most students and teachers refrained from attending.

Reportedly, the teachers association delegation led by its president D.K. Lobiyal and secretary Surojit Mazumdar met HRD ministry joint secretary Girish C. Hasur and other officials.

“The atmosphere of insecurity and fear has increased manifold after the (January 5) violence on the campus. The vice-chancellor is not talking to the students or the teachers,” Lobiyal told reporters. “Till the time (those on the campus) feel secure, normalcy cannot return.”

Lobiyal also made it clear that they have only one demand, that the VC be removed, so that academic activity can resume in campus. With him still at the helm, teachers have refused to recommence work. Moreover, exams for the previous semester have not taken place owing to the fee-hike protests of students and starting teaching for a new semester does not make sense.

 

Related:

Cong’s fact-finding report questions role of JNU admin, right-wing groups
JNU violence must be investigated by a judicial commission
Raghuram Rajan condemns JNU violence, praises student protests
Delhi Police names Left-wing students as suspects in JNU violence
Mandi House Protests in support of JNU
ABVP loses top posts in Varanasi’s Sanskrit University student union elections

JNU Teachers refuse to resume work unless VC resigns

The VC’s retention has made matter worse for the University’s administration and students’ academics and future are at stake

JNU VC

The crisis at JNU is only getting worse. The teachers’ association which is on strike has said that they will not resume academic activity on campus unless the Vice Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar resigns. There have been, indeed several demands for his resignation, coming not only from students but even a veteran BJP leader, Murli Manohar Joshi, Senior Congress leader BK Chandrashekhar and few media houses. Even Economist Amit Bhaduri who was JNU’s Emeritus professor, resigned in the light of the VC’s actions.

The attack by masked goons on the JNU campus left many students including JNUSU President and many teachers injured while several others were left fearing for their lives. All this while the VC took no action and the police looked on.

The University’s administration has gone on the offensive and said that the teachers’ non-cooperation call violates their service contract. In any case, classes could not be held across the various schools in the campus as most students and teachers refrained from attending.

Reportedly, the teachers association delegation led by its president D.K. Lobiyal and secretary Surojit Mazumdar met HRD ministry joint secretary Girish C. Hasur and other officials.

“The atmosphere of insecurity and fear has increased manifold after the (January 5) violence on the campus. The vice-chancellor is not talking to the students or the teachers,” Lobiyal told reporters. “Till the time (those on the campus) feel secure, normalcy cannot return.”

Lobiyal also made it clear that they have only one demand, that the VC be removed, so that academic activity can resume in campus. With him still at the helm, teachers have refused to recommence work. Moreover, exams for the previous semester have not taken place owing to the fee-hike protests of students and starting teaching for a new semester does not make sense.

 

Related:

Cong’s fact-finding report questions role of JNU admin, right-wing groups
JNU violence must be investigated by a judicial commission
Raghuram Rajan condemns JNU violence, praises student protests
Delhi Police names Left-wing students as suspects in JNU violence
Mandi House Protests in support of JNU
ABVP loses top posts in Varanasi’s Sanskrit University student union elections

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University Campus or Cantonment?

14 Jan 2020

jnu

In the mid-seventies, when I came to Delhi University (DU) from a small village in Haryana, the deployment of police or private security guards either in the college or the university campus was unheard of. There used to be university watchmen at the gates of colleges, hostels and faculty, who were generally befriended by the students. In the entire north campus, only one man from the intelligence used to be seen from time to time. That sociable police officer was often recognized by the students, who took part in student politics, debate, literary and cultural activities. Of course, back then, there used to be protests, elections of students’ and teachers’ organizations, big fairs and festivals; a wave of new 'bad elements' used to come in year after year; there was a race among certain colleges to be on the top as a 'terror' college; there were many kinds of fights in between, even knives were used, ... but generally there was no need to call the police before or after the incidents. The college and university administrations used to manage everything on their own. Police intervention was allowed only on the permission and deliberations of college and university officials. This had no effect on the lives of the students, who were enjoying their studies and pursuing other interests. What it meant was that a large university, whose symbol is elephant, used to run only with its own arrangement, despite the fact that the campus is an open campus which can easily be accessed from all directions. The situation was more or less the same in all central and state universities and colleges. Obviously, this was possible due to a mutual understanding and a sense of responsibility among the teaching and non-teaching staff, students and, of course, the vice-chancellors and the principals.

As the influence or pressure of neo-liberalism increased in politics, society, religion and culture through country's economy, the education system could not remain untouched by it. According to the Indian Constitution, education is the responsibility of the state. However, it was opened to the private sector under neoliberal policies. Due to the privatization of education, a large world of private educational institutions has come into existence. The pressure of privatization has also been put on the already existing public sector educational institutions. Under the earlier administrative setup, all employees from peons, chowkidars, daftaris, gardeners, scavengers, butlers, lab assistants, library assistants etc. to clerks happened to be permanent employees of the university. There was new recruitment after the retirement of a person. But that practice was stopped 20-25 years ago. Instead of making permanent recruitments, appointment on contractual basis became the trend. One contractual employee was made to accomplish the work of three-four employees and made to work for more than the prescribed hours of duty. The teachers, also, could not escape this trend. About 5000 teachers are ad-hoc or guests in the Delhi University, at present. Such vice chancellors and principals were appointed by the governments, who blindly implemented the policies of privatization in governmental educational institutions.

Meanwhile, the character of student politics also changed. The patent on 'goondaism' in student politics did not remain with the National Student Union of India (NSUI) alone. It was taken up by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and further, by the students’ fronts of regional satraps, which came to power in the states due to the politics of social justice, and by the communist students’ organizations in West Bengal and Kerala. Simplicity, healthy debate, common student interests did not remain the concerns of student politics. Student politics has become an endless series of confrontations, with opponents invoking their leaders, icons, slogans, parties, ideologies etc. The students from marginalized societies who, due to constitutional provisions, join the arena of higher education, have envisaged their own mobilization in student politics. So, this clash among student groupings is multi-cornered, which the RSS and the communists operate with a strategy of showing it as between themselves. This phenomenon of student politics is not one-sided or single-folded. Student politics of the neo-liberal era is a shadow of the corporate politics prevalent in the country in the present times. This is also true for teachers’ politics to a large extent. It has lost the strength to oppose privatization of education by securing higher pay scales and other facilities under neo-liberal policies. They are not ready to concede that the communalization of education cannot be stopped without abrogating privatization.

Wealthy students get relief by getting admission and campus postings in private educational institutions. Most candidates, who seek admissions and jobs in public sector colleges and universities, live in constant uncertainty. Government education is no longer as cheap and affordable as it used to be before. The pressure of an all-round consumerist culture also plays its role. They are constantly told by the political elites that the country is progressing very fast. When they try to find their place in that progress, then disappointment is often felt. Various kinds of debates, discourses and NGOs are waved in front of them. They join them and experience the significance of their being for some time. No solution seems to be coming out of this 'touch revolution' and the age goes on increasing. They live in a state of constant restlessness. The way the entire education system is being uprooted from the axis of the Constitution without proper thought and planning, and mounted on the pivot of privatization of a clumsy kind, there is no dearth of protest issues in front of them. Events at national and international level also agitate student groups. So, there is one or the other protest every day on the campuses. The student leaders, who see student politics as a means of making a place in party politics or have other vested interests, take advantage of this situation. Big and small leaders, media, civil society activists are ever ready to play their roles. Hence, there is a need to look into this background while discussing the private security arrangements and the presence and role of the police/paramilitary forces on the campuses.

If there is restlessness and uncertainty in the minds of students, then there will be protests. In the absence of trust towards students and teachers, university officials will continue to resort to the police again and again. 'The police answers to those in power' - this practice has been going on in India since colonial times. The police will defend those student organizations and leaders which have affiliation with the government in power and will suppress the opponents. It will also defend the anti-social and violent elements working for the ruling party. When the top leaders of the country do politics by making communal divide its basis, then the police will also practice communal behavior. In the last few decades, the presence of police on campuses and incidents of interference have increased very rapidly. Rather, the demand for permanent deployment of paramilitary forces on the campus by the vice chancellors has gained momentum. Last year, on the demand of the vice chancellor of the Vishva Bharati University (Shanti Niketan), the central government decided to permanently deploy the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on the campus. This is the first time that this has happened in the university system. Earlier in 2017, the vice chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) had asked the government for permanent deployment of paramilitary forces on the campus. At that time, the government had not given permission because the vice chancellor had to go on long leave due to certain allegations. In November last year, the vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) called the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the campus to deal with the students' agitation.

The increasing dependence on the police by the university officials, even in minor disputes, is converting campuses into cantonments. That day is not far when the police will enter the premises even without their orders. Recently, this has happened in Jamia Millia Islamia. In the absence of the police, a large number of private guards and barriers give the campus the look of a cantonment. The south campus of the Delhi University is small and compact. It has only six small buildings, including a library. There is a police checkpoint at the main gate. Despite this, there is a plethora of private guards. A person coming to meet a teacher cannot reach him/her easily. Not at all, if he/she is a media person.

In fact, all this is done to enslave the young minds so that they subordinate themselves to the system. It is the responsibility of university officials, teachers, students and administrative staff to not allow a campus to be transformed into a cantonment. Parents and guardians can also play an important role in this. They should insist that the primary responsibility of the university authorities is to create a safe, fear-free and creative environment on the campus, and not to obey this or that government's order.

 

RELETED ARTICLES:

  1. Raghuram Rajan condemns JNU violence, praises student protests

  2. JNU violence must be investigated by a judicial commission

  3. ABVP loses top posts in Varanasi’s Sanskrit University student union elections

  4. JU professor assaulted by BJP supporters upon objecting to anti-Muslim insults

  5. The powerful must listen: India's youth has spoken against divisive politics

University Campus or Cantonment?

jnu

In the mid-seventies, when I came to Delhi University (DU) from a small village in Haryana, the deployment of police or private security guards either in the college or the university campus was unheard of. There used to be university watchmen at the gates of colleges, hostels and faculty, who were generally befriended by the students. In the entire north campus, only one man from the intelligence used to be seen from time to time. That sociable police officer was often recognized by the students, who took part in student politics, debate, literary and cultural activities. Of course, back then, there used to be protests, elections of students’ and teachers’ organizations, big fairs and festivals; a wave of new 'bad elements' used to come in year after year; there was a race among certain colleges to be on the top as a 'terror' college; there were many kinds of fights in between, even knives were used, ... but generally there was no need to call the police before or after the incidents. The college and university administrations used to manage everything on their own. Police intervention was allowed only on the permission and deliberations of college and university officials. This had no effect on the lives of the students, who were enjoying their studies and pursuing other interests. What it meant was that a large university, whose symbol is elephant, used to run only with its own arrangement, despite the fact that the campus is an open campus which can easily be accessed from all directions. The situation was more or less the same in all central and state universities and colleges. Obviously, this was possible due to a mutual understanding and a sense of responsibility among the teaching and non-teaching staff, students and, of course, the vice-chancellors and the principals.

As the influence or pressure of neo-liberalism increased in politics, society, religion and culture through country's economy, the education system could not remain untouched by it. According to the Indian Constitution, education is the responsibility of the state. However, it was opened to the private sector under neoliberal policies. Due to the privatization of education, a large world of private educational institutions has come into existence. The pressure of privatization has also been put on the already existing public sector educational institutions. Under the earlier administrative setup, all employees from peons, chowkidars, daftaris, gardeners, scavengers, butlers, lab assistants, library assistants etc. to clerks happened to be permanent employees of the university. There was new recruitment after the retirement of a person. But that practice was stopped 20-25 years ago. Instead of making permanent recruitments, appointment on contractual basis became the trend. One contractual employee was made to accomplish the work of three-four employees and made to work for more than the prescribed hours of duty. The teachers, also, could not escape this trend. About 5000 teachers are ad-hoc or guests in the Delhi University, at present. Such vice chancellors and principals were appointed by the governments, who blindly implemented the policies of privatization in governmental educational institutions.

Meanwhile, the character of student politics also changed. The patent on 'goondaism' in student politics did not remain with the National Student Union of India (NSUI) alone. It was taken up by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and further, by the students’ fronts of regional satraps, which came to power in the states due to the politics of social justice, and by the communist students’ organizations in West Bengal and Kerala. Simplicity, healthy debate, common student interests did not remain the concerns of student politics. Student politics has become an endless series of confrontations, with opponents invoking their leaders, icons, slogans, parties, ideologies etc. The students from marginalized societies who, due to constitutional provisions, join the arena of higher education, have envisaged their own mobilization in student politics. So, this clash among student groupings is multi-cornered, which the RSS and the communists operate with a strategy of showing it as between themselves. This phenomenon of student politics is not one-sided or single-folded. Student politics of the neo-liberal era is a shadow of the corporate politics prevalent in the country in the present times. This is also true for teachers’ politics to a large extent. It has lost the strength to oppose privatization of education by securing higher pay scales and other facilities under neo-liberal policies. They are not ready to concede that the communalization of education cannot be stopped without abrogating privatization.

Wealthy students get relief by getting admission and campus postings in private educational institutions. Most candidates, who seek admissions and jobs in public sector colleges and universities, live in constant uncertainty. Government education is no longer as cheap and affordable as it used to be before. The pressure of an all-round consumerist culture also plays its role. They are constantly told by the political elites that the country is progressing very fast. When they try to find their place in that progress, then disappointment is often felt. Various kinds of debates, discourses and NGOs are waved in front of them. They join them and experience the significance of their being for some time. No solution seems to be coming out of this 'touch revolution' and the age goes on increasing. They live in a state of constant restlessness. The way the entire education system is being uprooted from the axis of the Constitution without proper thought and planning, and mounted on the pivot of privatization of a clumsy kind, there is no dearth of protest issues in front of them. Events at national and international level also agitate student groups. So, there is one or the other protest every day on the campuses. The student leaders, who see student politics as a means of making a place in party politics or have other vested interests, take advantage of this situation. Big and small leaders, media, civil society activists are ever ready to play their roles. Hence, there is a need to look into this background while discussing the private security arrangements and the presence and role of the police/paramilitary forces on the campuses.

If there is restlessness and uncertainty in the minds of students, then there will be protests. In the absence of trust towards students and teachers, university officials will continue to resort to the police again and again. 'The police answers to those in power' - this practice has been going on in India since colonial times. The police will defend those student organizations and leaders which have affiliation with the government in power and will suppress the opponents. It will also defend the anti-social and violent elements working for the ruling party. When the top leaders of the country do politics by making communal divide its basis, then the police will also practice communal behavior. In the last few decades, the presence of police on campuses and incidents of interference have increased very rapidly. Rather, the demand for permanent deployment of paramilitary forces on the campus by the vice chancellors has gained momentum. Last year, on the demand of the vice chancellor of the Vishva Bharati University (Shanti Niketan), the central government decided to permanently deploy the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on the campus. This is the first time that this has happened in the university system. Earlier in 2017, the vice chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) had asked the government for permanent deployment of paramilitary forces on the campus. At that time, the government had not given permission because the vice chancellor had to go on long leave due to certain allegations. In November last year, the vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) called the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the campus to deal with the students' agitation.

The increasing dependence on the police by the university officials, even in minor disputes, is converting campuses into cantonments. That day is not far when the police will enter the premises even without their orders. Recently, this has happened in Jamia Millia Islamia. In the absence of the police, a large number of private guards and barriers give the campus the look of a cantonment. The south campus of the Delhi University is small and compact. It has only six small buildings, including a library. There is a police checkpoint at the main gate. Despite this, there is a plethora of private guards. A person coming to meet a teacher cannot reach him/her easily. Not at all, if he/she is a media person.

In fact, all this is done to enslave the young minds so that they subordinate themselves to the system. It is the responsibility of university officials, teachers, students and administrative staff to not allow a campus to be transformed into a cantonment. Parents and guardians can also play an important role in this. They should insist that the primary responsibility of the university authorities is to create a safe, fear-free and creative environment on the campus, and not to obey this or that government's order.

 

RELETED ARTICLES:

  1. Raghuram Rajan condemns JNU violence, praises student protests

  2. JNU violence must be investigated by a judicial commission

  3. ABVP loses top posts in Varanasi’s Sanskrit University student union elections

  4. JU professor assaulted by BJP supporters upon objecting to anti-Muslim insults

  5. The powerful must listen: India's youth has spoken against divisive politics

Related Articles


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Sabrang

Exam failure major trigger for student suicides: NCRB

As per the NCRB, more than 10,000 students in 2018 and 82,000 students in the last decade have ended their lives owing to different reasons

13 Jan 2020

NCRB

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its recently released data, has said that nearly 10,159 students committed suicide in the year 2018, and nearly 81,758 in the last decade.

The ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2018’ report by the bureau stated that topping the charts in case of students suicides was the state of Maharashtra with 1,448 suicides, with Tamil Nadu coming in second at 953, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 862, Karnataka at 755 and West Bengal at 609.

The number of suicides in Maharashtra was 14.3% of the total number and according to the report, the total number of suicides surged by 3.6% to 134,516 in 2018 from 129,887 in 2017.

While the number of student suicides in 2017 was 9,905, the figure in 2018 increased 2.6 percent to 10,159 (7.6% of the total number).

Failure in examinations accounted for 2 percent of student suicides, with 1,529 students below the age of 18 and 1,034 between the ages of 18 and 30 and 53 students from the ages of 30 to 45 years having ended their lives.

With one student committing suicide every hour, inability of coping with failure and the fear of letting their family down makes students resort to such desperate measures. However, according to a blog post by Your Dost, an online counseling service, only 30 percent of student suicides are due to failure in examinations.

Forced career choices say psychologists; especially with parents forcing their kids to take up only conventional careers and the inability of kids to speak up about the pressure, especially with their parents, is also a major contributor to the student suicide numbers.

Even caste discrimination, as we have seen in the cases of medical student Payal Tadvi and engineering student Fathima Lathif, has driven many aspirants over the edge. Also, no importance on mental health, with the country spending only 0.06% of its budget for addressing mental health concerns, is another factor that is often swept under the carpet.

Currently, the country only has around 5,000 psychiatrists and even fewer clinical psychologists for a population of 1.3 billion people. Though schools and universities are opening up wellness centers for their students on campus, what is likely to help more is the administration of the District Mental Health Programme which comprises of counseling services, suicide prevention services, stress management and life skills training.

Also, with social media coming into the picture, emotional and mental disturbances have taken a turn for the worse. The need for social acceptance and external validation, especially when we’re going from social animals to being individualists, has ended up making students vulnerable and more susceptible to taking harmful decisions with regards to their lives. Peer pressure combined with parental pressure has proven to be a deadly combination for the students of India.

Even though the government has introduced several strategies like lightening the syllabus, introducing counselors and special educators in schools and conducting seminars on motivation, these have not stopped the number of student suicides increase year on year.

Apart from making parents more open to unconventional careers and teaching students to successfully navigate societal pressure, it is imperative to build a solidarity network where teachers, educators, counselors and peer groups come together to detect and help children who are suffering from this silent threat.

Related:

Telangana board examination results prompt spate of student suicides
Chorus demanding justice for 'institutional murder' of Dr Payal Tadvi grows
Increase in student suicides: Commercialisation of education dividing, destroying youth power

Exam failure major trigger for student suicides: NCRB

As per the NCRB, more than 10,000 students in 2018 and 82,000 students in the last decade have ended their lives owing to different reasons

NCRB

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its recently released data, has said that nearly 10,159 students committed suicide in the year 2018, and nearly 81,758 in the last decade.

The ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2018’ report by the bureau stated that topping the charts in case of students suicides was the state of Maharashtra with 1,448 suicides, with Tamil Nadu coming in second at 953, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 862, Karnataka at 755 and West Bengal at 609.

The number of suicides in Maharashtra was 14.3% of the total number and according to the report, the total number of suicides surged by 3.6% to 134,516 in 2018 from 129,887 in 2017.

While the number of student suicides in 2017 was 9,905, the figure in 2018 increased 2.6 percent to 10,159 (7.6% of the total number).

Failure in examinations accounted for 2 percent of student suicides, with 1,529 students below the age of 18 and 1,034 between the ages of 18 and 30 and 53 students from the ages of 30 to 45 years having ended their lives.

With one student committing suicide every hour, inability of coping with failure and the fear of letting their family down makes students resort to such desperate measures. However, according to a blog post by Your Dost, an online counseling service, only 30 percent of student suicides are due to failure in examinations.

Forced career choices say psychologists; especially with parents forcing their kids to take up only conventional careers and the inability of kids to speak up about the pressure, especially with their parents, is also a major contributor to the student suicide numbers.

Even caste discrimination, as we have seen in the cases of medical student Payal Tadvi and engineering student Fathima Lathif, has driven many aspirants over the edge. Also, no importance on mental health, with the country spending only 0.06% of its budget for addressing mental health concerns, is another factor that is often swept under the carpet.

Currently, the country only has around 5,000 psychiatrists and even fewer clinical psychologists for a population of 1.3 billion people. Though schools and universities are opening up wellness centers for their students on campus, what is likely to help more is the administration of the District Mental Health Programme which comprises of counseling services, suicide prevention services, stress management and life skills training.

Also, with social media coming into the picture, emotional and mental disturbances have taken a turn for the worse. The need for social acceptance and external validation, especially when we’re going from social animals to being individualists, has ended up making students vulnerable and more susceptible to taking harmful decisions with regards to their lives. Peer pressure combined with parental pressure has proven to be a deadly combination for the students of India.

Even though the government has introduced several strategies like lightening the syllabus, introducing counselors and special educators in schools and conducting seminars on motivation, these have not stopped the number of student suicides increase year on year.

Apart from making parents more open to unconventional careers and teaching students to successfully navigate societal pressure, it is imperative to build a solidarity network where teachers, educators, counselors and peer groups come together to detect and help children who are suffering from this silent threat.

Related:

Telangana board examination results prompt spate of student suicides
Chorus demanding justice for 'institutional murder' of Dr Payal Tadvi grows
Increase in student suicides: Commercialisation of education dividing, destroying youth power

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Cong’s fact-finding report questions role of JNU admin, right-wing groups

Report by members of Congress party and NSUI also questions role of police

13 Jan 2020

JNU

A fact-finding report released by the Congress party has raised several key concerns about decisions made by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration officials, as well as the role played by right-wing affiliated groups in the violence that took place on campus on January 5.

The fact-finding committee comprised Mahila Congress Chief Sushmita Dev, Rajya Sabha MP Syed Nasir Hussain, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and AICC member Amrita Dhawan.

The report says, “There is every reason to believe that the mob that attacked the students and teachers on campus were from the right-wing factions. The WhatsApp groups like ‘Friends of RSS’ & ‘Unity against Left’ that were used to mobilise and provoke people to attack the students and faculty on campus speaks volumes about the ideology of the people involved in the attack.”

The report also makes a series of allegations against the Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, terming him the “mastermind” of the attack. It says, “… on the 5th of January when the violence started despite several calls form the students to the police for help, the Vice Chancellor did not give permission for the police to enter the premises. The press release of the Vice Chancellor on 5th January 2020 states the administration called the police at about 4.30pm but the police has given a statement that they were allowed to enter the Campus at about 7.45 pm by the administration.”

There are also serious allegations against the police. The report says, “The police received many calls stating an emergency but did not respond. The police on campus watched the attackers move around freely on campus armed and they did not make any arrests. The deployment arrived on campus hours after SOS calls went from the campus. There is ample evidence of their negligence and complicity to allow violence on campus. They even beat students during flag march at 7.45 pm.”

The report also highlights the complicity of the university administration by questioning the role of the private security company hired to protect the campus as well as a hostel warden. It says, “There is sufficient evidence to show that the attackers were allowed free passage while entering and exiting the campus by the security company (Cyclops P Ltd) on duty. The Faculty members like Tapan Bihari, Warden of Periyar Hostel, were actively involved in facilitating the mob violence. There is no explanation how so many sticks, hammers etc were available on campus or how were they brought into the campus unless there was support of the security guards and some members of the faculty.”

The report then goes on to trace how right-wing elements have been allegedly allowed to ‘infiltrate’ the campus as well as higher echelons of university administration. It also traces the genesis of the fee-hike issue and narrates the latest chapter in the sordid saga saying, “The registration process for the new semester in Jan 2020 was another desperate attempt to bring in the fee hike through the backdoor. Upfront payment of the fee was mandatory for registration and the students wrote to the VC to allow registration at the old rate but there was no response. The process of registration was bulldozed without any examinations for the earlier semester.”

The Congress fact-finding team makes the following recommendations:

1. The Vice Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar should be dismissed immediately and an independent inquiry should be set up to look at all appointments made from 27/01/2016 (date of appointment) till date and all other financial and administrative decisions taken during his tenure should also be investigated.

2. A Criminal investigation must be initiated against the Vice Chancellor, the company that provides security service and members of the faculty who conspired with the attackers to unleash the violence on 05/01/2020 at Sabarmati hostel, Periyar hostel and other places. The security company’s contract must be immediately terminated.

3. An independent judicial enquiry must be conducted into the events of 05/01/2020 that led to violence on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

4. Fix accountability of the Commissioner of Delhi Police and other police officials because of police failure to act on the emergency calls by the students and faculty members on 05/01/2020 and in light of the overwhelming prima facie evidence that they facilitated the criminal elements on campus.

5. Immediate Rollback of the fee hike as implemented by the University authorities and recognition of JNUSU as an elected body so that proper consultation can take place between the administration and the students on the fee and other issues.

The entire report may be read here.

 

Cong’s fact-finding report questions role of JNU admin, right-wing groups

Report by members of Congress party and NSUI also questions role of police

JNU

A fact-finding report released by the Congress party has raised several key concerns about decisions made by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration officials, as well as the role played by right-wing affiliated groups in the violence that took place on campus on January 5.

The fact-finding committee comprised Mahila Congress Chief Sushmita Dev, Rajya Sabha MP Syed Nasir Hussain, Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and AICC member Amrita Dhawan.

The report says, “There is every reason to believe that the mob that attacked the students and teachers on campus were from the right-wing factions. The WhatsApp groups like ‘Friends of RSS’ & ‘Unity against Left’ that were used to mobilise and provoke people to attack the students and faculty on campus speaks volumes about the ideology of the people involved in the attack.”

The report also makes a series of allegations against the Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, terming him the “mastermind” of the attack. It says, “… on the 5th of January when the violence started despite several calls form the students to the police for help, the Vice Chancellor did not give permission for the police to enter the premises. The press release of the Vice Chancellor on 5th January 2020 states the administration called the police at about 4.30pm but the police has given a statement that they were allowed to enter the Campus at about 7.45 pm by the administration.”

There are also serious allegations against the police. The report says, “The police received many calls stating an emergency but did not respond. The police on campus watched the attackers move around freely on campus armed and they did not make any arrests. The deployment arrived on campus hours after SOS calls went from the campus. There is ample evidence of their negligence and complicity to allow violence on campus. They even beat students during flag march at 7.45 pm.”

The report also highlights the complicity of the university administration by questioning the role of the private security company hired to protect the campus as well as a hostel warden. It says, “There is sufficient evidence to show that the attackers were allowed free passage while entering and exiting the campus by the security company (Cyclops P Ltd) on duty. The Faculty members like Tapan Bihari, Warden of Periyar Hostel, were actively involved in facilitating the mob violence. There is no explanation how so many sticks, hammers etc were available on campus or how were they brought into the campus unless there was support of the security guards and some members of the faculty.”

The report then goes on to trace how right-wing elements have been allegedly allowed to ‘infiltrate’ the campus as well as higher echelons of university administration. It also traces the genesis of the fee-hike issue and narrates the latest chapter in the sordid saga saying, “The registration process for the new semester in Jan 2020 was another desperate attempt to bring in the fee hike through the backdoor. Upfront payment of the fee was mandatory for registration and the students wrote to the VC to allow registration at the old rate but there was no response. The process of registration was bulldozed without any examinations for the earlier semester.”

The Congress fact-finding team makes the following recommendations:

1. The Vice Chancellor, M Jagadesh Kumar should be dismissed immediately and an independent inquiry should be set up to look at all appointments made from 27/01/2016 (date of appointment) till date and all other financial and administrative decisions taken during his tenure should also be investigated.

2. A Criminal investigation must be initiated against the Vice Chancellor, the company that provides security service and members of the faculty who conspired with the attackers to unleash the violence on 05/01/2020 at Sabarmati hostel, Periyar hostel and other places. The security company’s contract must be immediately terminated.

3. An independent judicial enquiry must be conducted into the events of 05/01/2020 that led to violence on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

4. Fix accountability of the Commissioner of Delhi Police and other police officials because of police failure to act on the emergency calls by the students and faculty members on 05/01/2020 and in light of the overwhelming prima facie evidence that they facilitated the criminal elements on campus.

5. Immediate Rollback of the fee hike as implemented by the University authorities and recognition of JNUSU as an elected body so that proper consultation can take place between the administration and the students on the fee and other issues.

The entire report may be read here.

 

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IIT-G likely to face lawsuit for suspending whistle-blower professor

The Professor, Dr Rai has decided to sue the institute as he was forced to take compulsory retirement after an unfair inquiry

08 Jan 2020

Brijesh RaiImage Courtesy: guwahatiplus.com

Two days after IIT Guwahati suspended and ‘compulsorily retired’ its professor Brijesh Kumar Rai citing several disciplinary proceedings, it is likely that its action will be challenged in the court of law. Dr Rai, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering was suspended and was forcefully asked to opt for compulsory retirement.

What the University said

The Telegraph reported that a statement released by IIT Guwahati said it has recommended disciplinary action against Rai amounting to dismissal from service. The statement said, “A high-level external independent committee was also set up to look into the complaints received against Rai. In all these cases, Rai was given fair opportunities to present his case personally before the board of governors and the high-level committee, but he failed to do so. The committees came to a unanimous conclusion and recommended disciplinary action against Rai amounting to dismissal from service. However, considering the future prospects of Rai and his career, the board of governors was considerate about his future and reduced the quantum of punishment to compulsory retirement instead of dismissal from service.”

The cases made up against Rai include manhandling and beating up of faculty members , dereliction of duty, wrongly accusing the institute and an external-funding agency, violating official procedure protocol, defaming the institute by posting messages on social media, filing unnecessary RTIs and PILs that waste the time of the institute’s workforce, defaming the institute’s administrators and policies and giving interviews to the media in an unauthorised manner.

The students’ reaction

The whistle-blower professor, although, has been defended by the students of the institute. Two IIT-G PhD students, Vikrant Singh and Himanchal Singh started hunger strike for the ‘campaign for justice to Rai’ but they were denied the permission to continue their agitation. However, they continued their strike regardless.

The professor’s side of the story

Rai believes one of the main reasons for his suspension was his reporting to the ISRO chairman about the irregularities in implementation of a project at IIT-G funded by the space institute. He said that he was not given a fair chance to defend himself during the inquiry; he was not allowed to get a defence assistant during the hearing although it is mandatory as per the Central Civil Services (Classsification, Control and Appeal) Rules. He was also not allowed to cross-examine any complainant or witness. On this basis he has decided to take the institute to court.

Rai maintained that the charges against him were simply vindictive as he had unearthed several cases of corruption within the institute.

The state’s growing intolerance towards dissent is reflected on a daily basis in the various incidents that take place where students and other class of people’s voices of dissent are muzzled under state pressure tactics of violence and in this case the tactic of intimidation has been used, to hide their incompetence.

Related:

Close to 500 families or more, all Muslim, evicted: Assam
Terror has been repeatedly unleashed on JNU, lest we forget the disappearance of young Najeeb, and several times before
Express yourself without fear: Faculty to IIT Kanpur students
NAPM expresses solidarity with JNU
Allahabad HC: NHRC directed to probe into AMU police excess
BJP leaders face a blockade in Karnataka with their pro CAA propaganda drive

IIT-G likely to face lawsuit for suspending whistle-blower professor

The Professor, Dr Rai has decided to sue the institute as he was forced to take compulsory retirement after an unfair inquiry

Brijesh RaiImage Courtesy: guwahatiplus.com

Two days after IIT Guwahati suspended and ‘compulsorily retired’ its professor Brijesh Kumar Rai citing several disciplinary proceedings, it is likely that its action will be challenged in the court of law. Dr Rai, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics & Electrical Engineering was suspended and was forcefully asked to opt for compulsory retirement.

What the University said

The Telegraph reported that a statement released by IIT Guwahati said it has recommended disciplinary action against Rai amounting to dismissal from service. The statement said, “A high-level external independent committee was also set up to look into the complaints received against Rai. In all these cases, Rai was given fair opportunities to present his case personally before the board of governors and the high-level committee, but he failed to do so. The committees came to a unanimous conclusion and recommended disciplinary action against Rai amounting to dismissal from service. However, considering the future prospects of Rai and his career, the board of governors was considerate about his future and reduced the quantum of punishment to compulsory retirement instead of dismissal from service.”

The cases made up against Rai include manhandling and beating up of faculty members , dereliction of duty, wrongly accusing the institute and an external-funding agency, violating official procedure protocol, defaming the institute by posting messages on social media, filing unnecessary RTIs and PILs that waste the time of the institute’s workforce, defaming the institute’s administrators and policies and giving interviews to the media in an unauthorised manner.

The students’ reaction

The whistle-blower professor, although, has been defended by the students of the institute. Two IIT-G PhD students, Vikrant Singh and Himanchal Singh started hunger strike for the ‘campaign for justice to Rai’ but they were denied the permission to continue their agitation. However, they continued their strike regardless.

The professor’s side of the story

Rai believes one of the main reasons for his suspension was his reporting to the ISRO chairman about the irregularities in implementation of a project at IIT-G funded by the space institute. He said that he was not given a fair chance to defend himself during the inquiry; he was not allowed to get a defence assistant during the hearing although it is mandatory as per the Central Civil Services (Classsification, Control and Appeal) Rules. He was also not allowed to cross-examine any complainant or witness. On this basis he has decided to take the institute to court.

Rai maintained that the charges against him were simply vindictive as he had unearthed several cases of corruption within the institute.

The state’s growing intolerance towards dissent is reflected on a daily basis in the various incidents that take place where students and other class of people’s voices of dissent are muzzled under state pressure tactics of violence and in this case the tactic of intimidation has been used, to hide their incompetence.

Related:

Close to 500 families or more, all Muslim, evicted: Assam
Terror has been repeatedly unleashed on JNU, lest we forget the disappearance of young Najeeb, and several times before
Express yourself without fear: Faculty to IIT Kanpur students
NAPM expresses solidarity with JNU
Allahabad HC: NHRC directed to probe into AMU police excess
BJP leaders face a blockade in Karnataka with their pro CAA propaganda drive

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Pak Hindu girl permitted to give Board exams by Rajasthan Govt.

She was earlier denied permission for allegedly not submitting her eligibility certificate

04 Jan 2020

Pak hindu Girl Image Courtesy: ndtv.com

Dami Kohli, a Pakistani Hindu national seems to have been caught in a political crossfire amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Reports say that she had come to India from Sindh in Pakistan two years ago and is currently living in the Aanganwa refugee camp in Rajasthan. She was barred by the Rajasthan education department from appearing for her grade 12 board examinations for allegedly not submitting her eligibility certificate along with her application.

Republic World quoted her as saying, “I took admission in the school in 2018. I studied there for the whole year and passed the 11th standard. I have a mark-sheet as well. Only one month is left for the board exams and the school has given me a notice stating that I will not be allowed to appear for the examination.”

Activist Hindu Singh Sodha, the founder of Pak Visthapit Sangh who is well known for his work in resolving the issue of migrants said that Dami had completed her Grade 10 examinations from the Pakistan Board and had moved to India due to religious persecution. “I am really shocked to see that the Board has returned her form,” he said stating that he didn’t understand what specific formalities they needed.

However, there is no ‘anti-Hindu’ angle as some news outlets are painting it to be. The BJP has slammed Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot for being ‘anti-Hindu’ after he vehemently opposed the CAA-NPR-NRC from being implemented in the state and are trying to give this incident a communal angle when there isn’t any.

State Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said, “She completed 10th Standard from the Pakistani Board and now wants to appear for Standard 12 Board exams in Rajasthan. We have written a letter to the Pakistani embassy seeking information about their syllabus. We are comparing our syllabus to theirs.”

“If we get a positive response from them, we will definitely allow her. Even if we get a negative response from them, we will change the rules and allow her,” he added.

The New Indian Express reported her as saying, “After the Board had refused permission, I was really depressed. But now I am delighted that the government is trying to find a solution so that I can appear for the 12th Board Exams and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.”

Related:

927 Sikhs and Hindus granted citizenship since 2018
Demolition of democratic, secular Constitution, old project of Hindutva gang
The lives of Pakistani Hindus, a shrinking minority
 

Pak Hindu girl permitted to give Board exams by Rajasthan Govt.

She was earlier denied permission for allegedly not submitting her eligibility certificate

Pak hindu Girl Image Courtesy: ndtv.com

Dami Kohli, a Pakistani Hindu national seems to have been caught in a political crossfire amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Reports say that she had come to India from Sindh in Pakistan two years ago and is currently living in the Aanganwa refugee camp in Rajasthan. She was barred by the Rajasthan education department from appearing for her grade 12 board examinations for allegedly not submitting her eligibility certificate along with her application.

Republic World quoted her as saying, “I took admission in the school in 2018. I studied there for the whole year and passed the 11th standard. I have a mark-sheet as well. Only one month is left for the board exams and the school has given me a notice stating that I will not be allowed to appear for the examination.”

Activist Hindu Singh Sodha, the founder of Pak Visthapit Sangh who is well known for his work in resolving the issue of migrants said that Dami had completed her Grade 10 examinations from the Pakistan Board and had moved to India due to religious persecution. “I am really shocked to see that the Board has returned her form,” he said stating that he didn’t understand what specific formalities they needed.

However, there is no ‘anti-Hindu’ angle as some news outlets are painting it to be. The BJP has slammed Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot for being ‘anti-Hindu’ after he vehemently opposed the CAA-NPR-NRC from being implemented in the state and are trying to give this incident a communal angle when there isn’t any.

State Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara said, “She completed 10th Standard from the Pakistani Board and now wants to appear for Standard 12 Board exams in Rajasthan. We have written a letter to the Pakistani embassy seeking information about their syllabus. We are comparing our syllabus to theirs.”

“If we get a positive response from them, we will definitely allow her. Even if we get a negative response from them, we will change the rules and allow her,” he added.

The New Indian Express reported her as saying, “After the Board had refused permission, I was really depressed. But now I am delighted that the government is trying to find a solution so that I can appear for the 12th Board Exams and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.”

Related:

927 Sikhs and Hindus granted citizenship since 2018
Demolition of democratic, secular Constitution, old project of Hindutva gang
The lives of Pakistani Hindus, a shrinking minority
 

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