FEDCUTA Statement on actions of the VC of Central University of Jharkhand

31 March 2016


The FEDCUTA expresses its outrage at the bizarre, high-handed and politically motivated action of the Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Jharkand in suspending a senior teacher Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and removing her from all administrative positions on the absurd grounds of “misconduct” by inviting a senior professor from JNU as a Guest of Honour at a function she had been entrusted to organise!

Even though the suspension has since been withdrawn, presumably in response to the widespread condemnation of the action, the shocking and unprecedented incident has only served to underline the extremely grim situation confronting universities in India today. Public-funded universities are under an assault of gigantic magnitude, with pliable Vice Chancellors increasingly becoming instruments of dubious political agendas. The central role of our universities – to provide access to affordable quality education, by providing a space that nurtures independent and creative thinking, has been severely undermined.

In the eagerness to please the powers that be, the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Jharkand has ended up bringing disgrace to his own University. The attempt to malign the invited scholar, Professor M.N. Panini, as a “mentor of the group of students of JNU, who were involved in anti-national activities in JNU campus recently” , would be laughable if it were not a scandal with dangerous portents.

The suspension of Dr. Bhattacharji is one more instance of a dangerous process that is targeting institution after institution, JNU and HCU being recent instances. While extending its solidarity and support to Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and Professor Panini, the FEDCUTA appeals to teachers and academics across the country to unitedly resist this onslaught which aims to destroy and dismantle our best public-funded universities at the behest of international corporate interests that are pushing for complete privatisation of higher education. To thwart any united resistance to this nefarious agenda, socially divisive campaigns that dub any dissent as “anti-national” are being whipped up. The attempt to hand over Government Schools, Colleges and Universities to private profiteers, domestic and global, is the agenda that is truly anti-national as it is inimical to the interests of the people of this country.

The FEDCUTA also demands that the VC of Central University of Jharkhand issue a public apology to Professor M.N. Panini as well as to Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji, and ensures that such incidents are not repeated.

Nandita Narain Ajay Patnaik
President, FEDCUTA Secretary, FEDCUTA

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