Dalit Professor slapped by HOD – Casteism or rage?

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A humiliating incident took place on Monday at Lakshmibai College when the HOD of the Hindi Department slapped a fellow Dalit Professor. A police complaint has been filed after which The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) organised a protest against the issue.


A shocking incident took place at Lakshmibai College on Monday when the HOD of the Hindi department, Ranjit Kaur slapped her colleague, Dr Neelam a Dalit Associate professor during a college meeting. 


The teachers were called in for a meeting and the Head, Ranjit Kaur asked them to sign the minutes. Dr Neelam said in her statement to the Indian Express that she wanted to browse through the minutes before signing but Kaur wasn’t allowing them. She was slapped after her insistence, which left all the teachers stunned. Though only a few of all the 13 teachers present have come forward in support of Dr Neelam. 


“There were 13 of us there; we all saw what happened. We were stunned that somebody could slap their colleague like this.”

  • Anshu Jharwar, a teacher in the Hindi department as reported by The Indian Express


Neelam has also alleged in her statement that this insult was hurled because of her caste as Kaur “always had an issue with me because of my caste”. 


As a counter-statement, Ranjit Kaur has alleged this as false and it was she who was attacked. She told The Indian Express that Neelam wanted to go through minutes of various previous meetings which would have taken them 3-4 hours. 


“I even apologised immediately. But she came and grabbed me and pulled my hair. In her original complaint, there was no caste factor but now she’s playing the Dalit card to create problems for me. I’m a god-fearing; I have never said anything casteist in my life,” said Kaur as reported by the Indian Express. 


Stating this as her reason behind the objection she claimed, “I had to go to the computer lab, so I tried to take the register from her but she pulled at it. During that tussle, it’s possible my hand could have hit her face. But it was not an intentional slap.” Ranjit has now filed a counter-complaint to the Principal against Neelam. 


After this incident, Dr Neelam filed a complaint at the Bharat Nagar police station. She also went to submit her complaint to Principal Pratyush Vatsala who did not accept it until there was pressure from activists and teachers. Meanwhile, the Principal has denied these allegations and said that they tried to resolve the matter but it has gone out of hands now. This matter will be put forward in the next Governing body meeting of the administration. 


“This is a serious matter. Institutions cannot be allowed to refuse redressal. A fair time-bound inquiry as per rules should be conducted.”


  • Said Dr Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer, DU Teachers Association (DUTA) in a statement to Edex live


Was the hurled abuse due to casteism or not will be revealed after further investigation. What can’t be denied is that casteism is a dominant force in academia. From ill-treatment to discrimination a lot is faced by teachers and students of marginalized communities, a lot of which goes unreported. 


The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) wrote to the Principal of the Lakshmibai College and demanded proper action be taken and justice be served. They asserted that issues of casteism in the university space are to be dealt with utmost seriousness. SFI Delhi State President Sumit Kataria and SFI DU Convenor Akhil KM met Dr Neelam to express their solidarity. 


https://twitter.com/sfiduspeaks/status/1427965317548974089 Embed this tweet, pleaseee


SFI even organised a protest against the humiliating act on 18th August at Lakshmibai College. There was heavy police deployment at the site who tried to remove the activists by force and manhandling. Still, the protest took place demanding action against Ranjit Kaur. 




Various issues have sprung up in the past year that has shown the ‘equal face’ of our education.


Vipin Pudiyath Veetil, an assistant professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences resigned because of the caste discrimination he faced at work. The video of a Professor from IIT Kharagpur hurling abuses at students from backward communities went viral last year. 


If the teachers holding the baton to guide generations of the nation would be in clutches of social evils such as casteism, it becomes a very serious issue that will obviously lay its impact on the future in ways unrecognisable. Thus the most valid question of the hour becomes,


 “Societies progress one small step at a time, or do they?”, as asked by Professor Vipin in his mail to other faculty members. 


Kashish Shivani

[email protected]   

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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