Srinagar: After signing a petition that condemned ‘state violence’ following Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander Burhan Wani’s killing and called for a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Rajendaran Narayanan of the Ashoka University has reportedly resigned from the institution, citing ‘ethical reasons’.
The resignation was accepted by the university’s governing body within two days, an Indian Express report said on Saturday.
Narayanan’s decision to quit came after two members of the University’s administrative staff — Saurav Goswami, deputy manager of academic affairs, and Adil Mushtaq Shah, programme manager of academic affairs — resigned and caused a debate over curbs on freedom of speech in the University, located in Sonepat area of Haryana.
Among the signatories, addressed to J&K state and the government of India, Narayanan, Shah and Goswami were the only three employees who had endorsed the July 25 petition last year.
Narayanan confirmed about his resignation to Kashmir Reader but said he would not speak further on the issue ‘right now’.
Narayanan had joined Ashoka University in 2015 as an assistant professor in its mathematics department and was the only teacher from the university to have signed the petition.
Reports said that the university had informally asked Narayanan to resign also came forth, but could not be verified.
Soon after the first two resignations, Ashoka University, seen as a liberal institution, drew ire for reportedly cracking down upon its staffers, who signed the Kashmir petition. The university was accused of even presenting a ‘liberal façade’.
Located on a 25-acre campus, Ashoka University is a private, non-profit university, and offers a multidisciplinary liberal education.
Ashoka’s post-graduate Young India Fellowship (YIF), now in its fifth year, has rapidly become one of the most sought-after programmes in India.