Amit Sengupta at the JNU Azadi Chowk

Amit Sengupta, former JNUSU president, speaking at the JNU Azadi Chowk on February 19, 2016.



For standing up for Rohith Vemula, students of FTII, and students of JNU, Amit Sengupta, a member of the faculty of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), was subjected to harassment by IIMC authorities and transferred to Dhenkenal campus of IIMC after he made this speech. Amit Sengupta resigned in protest and in solidarity with the Stand With JNU movement. Red Salute.

The text of his resignation letter (Courtsey: DNA):

IIMC, New Delhi

Sub: Resignation Letter

Dear Mr Anurag Misra

This is with reference to your letter posting me to Dhenkanal, Orissa. This letter was issued without any discussion with me or any faculty member. This violates every principle of academic freedom and autonomy of IIMC. You have reduced IIMC into a hand-maiden of a vicious, undemocratic and partisan regime.

I presume that this is a clear case of victimisation. If this is the way the faculty is treated then your administration has willfully chosen to dump the fundamental ethics of the Indian Constitution, and the dignity of the teaching profession. Certainly, this is part of a larger witch-hunt against intellectual freedom, academic autonomy and professional excellence, to target and eliminate individuals who this regime has declared as enemies for reasons only they know.

I am also aware that I have been targeted because I supported the solidarity protest for Rohith Vemula in the campus, organized independently by students of IIMC in which other faculty members too participated. I am proud of standing up for Rohith Vemula, and will continue to do so in the days to come. This is my constitutional right. I think grave injustice has been done to him and the students of the Hyderabad Central University. I will always stand and fight for Dalit rights.

I have also been targeted because I supported the JNU and FTII students. I think both the struggles are glorious and the country will enrich itself with the great leap of imagination and the brilliant content of the peaceful, democratic debate the students and faculty of these great institutions have generated. It was an honour for me, as a former JNUSU president, to address the open air gathering of faculty and students of JNU, in which the finest of minds in India and abroad have participated.

I am proud of being part of the great intellectual and political tradition of JNU, which cultivates independent critical thinking, open windows of enlightenment and pluralist and secular doors of perception, aligned with the poor, the Dalits, the adivasis, the minorities, and backward and marginalized sections of Indian society. You have not only targeted me, therefore, you have targeted the basic values of our progressive Constitution.

In IIMC I have perhaps taken the maximum number of lectures/workshops, like many of my learned faculty members. I have taught my students that they will never do journalism which professes xenophobia, casteism, sexism, racism, and communalism. That they should be objective and impartial. Also, that they should have open-ended, non-dogmatic and independent minds, and stand for truth and public interest, come what may. I presume I am paying a price for that.

I refuse to accept your arbitrary and unethical posting. Truth will stand with me.

I hereby resign from IIMC in protest.

I wish you and IIMC well.

Sincerely, Amit Sengupta

Associate Professor, English Journalism, IIMC, New Delhi

March 4, 2016


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