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Academics support IIT-Kanpur professor: Dalit academicians have regularly been at receiving end of caste bias

Around 400 academics and activists across the world have signed a statement in support of Dalit teacher Subrahmanyam Saderla at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) after the institute's senate voted to revoke Saderla's PhD thesis.

In November 2018, four professors of IIT-Kanpur had been booked by police for harassing Saderla, who had alleged that the accused professors and others spread rumours that he benefited from reservation and is not competent enough to answer questions.

He had also written a strongly-worded email to the IIT director and the head of aerospace engineering department, Professor AK Ghosh, drawing their attention towards the alleged harassment.

 Academics support IIT-Kanpur professor: Dalit academicians have regularly been at receiving end of caste bias

Representational image. AFP

Saderla's alleged harassment is only one of the examples of oppression Dalit academicians have been facing due to caste bias.

In the same month, Delhi University professor Hansraj Suman had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, complaining of violation of reservation norms in universities in appointing Dalit teachers, according to India Today.

In March this year, a literary award given to a Dalit teacher from Lucknow University was taken back for his alleged anti-government posts on social media. According to a report in The Times of India, a Delhi-based NGO had complained against assistant professor Ravikant and had even attached screenshots of his Facebook account.

"Since the association’s letter refers to my Facebook account, I understand that I have been penalised for posting comments critical of the BJP governments," the report had quoted Ravikant as saying.

A Scroll article in September 2018 had explained how the University Grants Commission's new policy for reserving teaching jobs was, in fact, reducing the number of jobs available for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

The article had also said that teachers from marginalised communities enriched university spaces by coming up with new areas of academic inquiry, some of which turn into courses which are not offered anywhere else.

In June 2018, a Dalit teacher in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh district had to touch the feet of a senior BJP leader for 'forgiveness', all because of an anti-upper caste post by him.

Another shocking aspect of this incident was that it took place inside a police station in front of policemen, who had threatened him with 'dire consequences' if he did not touch the politician's feet for forgiveness, Deccan Herald had reported.

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Updated Date: Apr 05, 2019 19:45:48 IST

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