The Following is a statement from JNUTA
30 March 2016
On actions of the VC of Central University of Jharkhand
The JNUTA condemns in the strongest possible terms the suspension of Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and her removal from administrative positions by the Vice Chancellor of Central University of Jharkand. What is simply outrageous is the action on her part that has been deemed as ‘misconduct’ – namely, inviting an eminent academic to be a Guest of Honour at a function in the University. She was assigned the responsibility to organize the event. The presumption underlying the accusation – that the credentials of the invited scholar, Professor M.N. Panini, were questionable as he is considered to be “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.
Clearly, the maligning of Professor Panini is simply on account of his association with JNU, where he served on the faculty with distinction for many years before his retirement, and has absolutely no relation with recent incidents in JNU.
By falling prey to such false propaganda when he is certainly in a position to know better, the VC of Central University of Jharkhand has only shown himself to be unworthy of being called an academic. That the action of initiating disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Bhattacharji was instigated by the decision of the Governor of Jharkhand to not attend the function where Professor Panini was to be present also betrays the VC’s willingness to completely capitulate before the powers that be. The image of the Central University of Jharkhand and the VC’s own reputation has been tarnished, not by the actions of Dr. Bhattacharji but the ones he has taken against her.
The shocking and unprecedented developments in the Central University of Jharkhand serve only to exemplify the extremely grim situation confronting Universities in India today where their autonomy and their ability to contribute to social progress by being spaces that nurture critical thinking, are under an assault of gigantic magnitude. The suspension of Dr. Bhattacharji is one more expression 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 JNUTA appeals to teachers and academics across the country to unitedly resist this onslaught which can only destroy our University system.
The JNUTA demands immediate withdrawal of the suspension orders and termination of all disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Bhattacharji. It also demands that the VC of Central University of Jharkhand issue a public apology to Professor M.N. Panini.