Saffron check on dissent in Jammu varsities

Saffron check on dissent in Jammu varsities

JAMMU: A complaint has been lodged with the vice-chancellor of the Central University, Jammu, in which complainant Manmohan Kumar has sought action against former head of English Department Prof Nandini Bhattacharya, accusing her of hurting sentiments of Hindus by making “derogatory remarks about Hinduism” during a seminar on February 18.
According to the complaint—Kashmir Reader has a copy of it— Prof Bhattacharya’s remarks “were highly derogatory and consciously made to divide the Hindu students of Jammu University and to create hatred, enmity and disaffection among each other”.
An NGO had organised the seminar, Pluralism in J&K: Crisis and the Way Forward, at the Business School of Jammu University.
“Appropriate action against the professor should be taken for trying to create hatred and enmity among students of Jammu University,” the complainant has demanded.
A participant in the seminar said on condition of anonymity that Prof Bhattacharya’s remarks were part of an academic debate and in no way meant to disrespect any religion.
“Her remarks are being blown out of proportion to ensure there is no space for dissent in these institutions of higher learning,” said the participant.
However, Prof Ashok Aima, the VC, said Prof Bhattacharya was no more an employee of the varsity and her contract had expired a month ago.
“So there is no question of ordering any inquiry when she is no more our employee,” he said.
Earlier, vice-chancellor of Jammu University (JU) Prof. RD Sharma had ordered an inquiry and sought an explanation from Prof. Tajuddin, head of the department of Political Science at the Jammu University.
Sources said that the inquiry had been ordered after rightwing activists and affiliates of the RSS sought action against those who had organised the seminar.
The explanation was submitted to the VC within days, following which he gave the political science department a “clean chit” by publicly saying nothing anti-national had been said in the seminar.