Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch communique on a Scheduled Caste Professor slapped by an Upper Caste Professor in Lakshmibai College, Delhi University:
Caste is reality of our inhuman society still today and it is deliberately protected by the institutions, a matter of caste atrocity came on 16.08.2021 at Laxmi Bai College of Delhi University where a Schedule Caste (Dalit) professor, Dr. Neelam, in the Hindi department at Delhi University’s Lakshmibai College was slapped publicly with deliberate and malafide intention to abuse physically and harass psychologically in front of her colleague by Dr. Ranjeet Kaur for not signing on the minutes of the meeting. It is pertinent to mention that Dr. Neelam was known for her contribution for Dalit rights, for which she has been targeted from time to time. Such inhuman treatment was given to her due to the casteist mentality of the accused teacher Dr. Ranjit Kaur who still believes members of scheduled caste as inferior to themselves.
The press conference was organised by Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM). Dr. Neelam informed the press about the incident. The incident took place during a meeting in the college on Monday, when teacher-in-charge Dr. Ranjit Kaur who is an associate professor in Lakshmi Bai college slapped her after Dr. Neelam asked for a little bit of time to go through the minutes of the meeting. There were 13 teachers who were also present at the meeting and saw this whole notorious incident. Dr. Ranjeet Kaur has been plotting against her since the time of her appointment and brainwashing children.
Dr. Neelam complained to the principal of the college of the said incident to file a written complaint in the diary but it was not accepted by the office of the principal and even denied its diary. After which, she went to the police station Bharat Nagar where she gave the written complaint to lodge F.I.R against accused Dr. Ranjit Kaur.
Dr. Neelam alleges the police station Bharat Nagar for working in collusion and under influence of accused for not lodging F.I.R properly under provision of SC& ST prevention of atrocities Act. The police officials didn’t register her case under relevant provisions of law and dictated a NCR for the same. The police authorities have given assurance to file the complaint on 18th August 2021 but the complaint hasn’t been registered yet.
Professor Dr. Kanchan (Department of Education, Central Institute of Education- D.U.) condoned the inhuman and unlawful incident and further said that it is very shameful that even today, incidents of caste atrocities are taking place in higher educational institutions. The one who has slapped Dr Neelam has slapped academic institutions integrity and humanity as well. The violence shows the upper caste mentality which is still prevalent in the education sector.
The college authorities are pressuring Dr. Neelam to withdraw the case and have issued an arbitrary show-cause notice to her. Dr. Neelam has said that she shall fight for restoring her dignity and termed the issue is not about just slapping her, but a symbol and alarm for anyone who tries to speak against them, they will shut it down.
Ms. Ena Zafar (National Coordinator, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch) vehemently condemned the atrocity committed on Dr. Neelam and further said that it is a matter of deep shock that such an incident has taken place. We celebrated the 75th independence day in the country, but we are still not free from our caste prejudice mentality and approach. It is to be noted that such an incident took place in the prestigious university of the country between two teachers. Kudos to the strength of Dr. Neelam who didn’t give in to the pressure of backing off and began to fight for the humiliation and her right. We’ve been following this case since day 1, Dr. Ranjeet Kaur who is now alleging that Dr. Neelam harassed her and tore the register but earlier confessed that she ‘might’ have slapped her and even circulated the page of the register on facebook. DASAM stands in solidarity with Dr. Neelam and we will fight with her for justice.
Professor Geeta Sahare ((Deputy Dean- Campus Development, D.U.) condemned the incident. The incidence seems to be flouting the constitution itself. Even more unfortunate is that the college administration has given the memo to Dr. Neelam, however, College Admin should have taken immediate action against Dr Ranjit Kaur. She said that they will keep fighting until justice is not met. She demanded an independent enquiry Commission for the same.
Dr Suman Sonkar (Prof. Economics Department, Lakshmibai College-D.U.) said that this barbaric slapping incident shows the mentality which even today believes that these communities should continue to do their work. They think that the job of teaching belongs to the upper caste community. Then Why are these people working as teachers in University, College and Schools? This shows the mindset that how can a Dalit Professor ask questions? The incident of being slapped only for demanding to read departmental meetings exposes the upper caste face of Indian society. This is the condition of professors like Delhi University, they are still casteist from within.
Ms. Pushpa Vivek Rashtriya (Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch) said that this incident with Dr. Neelam has been done to stop the demand for rights and consciousness within the Dalit community. The society is not able to tolerate the participation of the Dalit community in education. Wherever there is a vocal voice of the Dalit community in the country or there is resistance, efforts are made to suppress it. This incident is also the same. suppress the voice of resistance.
Dr. Sujit Kumar (Hindi Department, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, D.U. ) said that he has known Neelam from the time of JNU where she studied. She was capable of responding to that slap but she did not react to it, saving a teacher’s dignity. He talked about constitutional justice. It should be thought about what will happen to the villages and cities of India when they can attack a conscious professor like Dr. Neelam.
Dr Raghunath Prasad (Secretary Staff Council, Satyawati College, D.U) said that this incident shows the casteist face of Indian society. Whether they are educated or illiterate, the consciousness of caste supremacy is sitting deep within. This incident with Dr. Neelam is a sign of the same supremacist mindset. Please report this incident in writing to DUTA. Case should be registered immediately under SC / ST harassment. There should be immediate action against the criminal and guilty teacher. Dr. Neelam is the President of the Staff Council and the casteist attack on her is an attack on a leader, so the entire teacher community should unite and take immediate action against the culprits involved in this incident.
Dr. Sandeep (former Vice President of DUTA) said that we will have to fight this battle from Parliament to the road. This incident shows the extent to which the casteist attitude of administration works. Dr. Neelam should get justice. Delhi University should take immediate cognizance and investigate this incident and casteist Dr. Ranjit Kaur should be immediately sacked from the college.
Dr. Sagar (SDTM President, Professor, D.U.) said that incidents of atrocities on Dalit community have started increasing continuously, it should be opposed. The incident with Dr. Neelam should be immediately registered under SC-ST harassment as it is an attack on the dignity of a Dalit teacher, so a case of defamation should also be registered against then. The Delhi University administration and the college should immediately take action against the guilty teacher.
In the end, Dr. Neelam added that she has received no support from the college authorities and is being harassed. Even the press is not allowed to meet her in college premises. She demands:
- Immediate termination of Dr. Ranjeet Kaur from all her posts.
- Immediate arrest of Dr. Ranjeet Kaur under SC/ ST Act (PoA) 1989.
- Withdrawal of arbitrary show- cause notice issued for Dr. Neelam
- Independent inquiry to be set up to investigate and punish college administration’s negligence and support to the culprit.
Click here to sign a petition floated by the National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL) on the incident