A Dalit PhD scholar, Ramadas, received a 2-year suspension notice from all TISS campuses after attending a protest march in Delhi, citing them as anti-national activities.

A PhD student has been suspended for two years by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai for engaging in actions that the institution deemed “not in the interest of the nation.” The student’s participation in a protest in Delhi under the PSF-TISS banner is one example of the alleged misconduct. Additionally, Ramadas Prini Sivanandan, 30, pursuing a doctorate in development studies, is not allowed to enter the TISS campuses in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Mumbai, or Tuljapur.

Ramadas had received a notice in March advising him against his activities in the name of the college, following which he received a suspension notice in April. The notice dated March 7 stated that Ramadas misused the institute name by participating in the protest under the banner of PSF-TISS. As per the notice, since PSF is not a recognized student body of the institute, Ramadas using the name created a wrongful impression of the institute, which is funded under the Ministry of Education.

The suspension order refers to a show-cause notice sent to Ramadas on March 7 and states that a committee constituted following the notice submitted its recommendations on April 17. “The Committee recommended your suspension for two years, and your entry shall be debarred across all campuses of TISS,” states the suspension order addressed to Ramadas, adding that the competent authority has accepted the recommendations.

In addition to criticizing Ramadas’ January social media posts, the institute opposed students attending the January 26 screening of the documentary “Raam Ke Naam” because it was “a mark of dishonor and protest against the Ram Mandir inauguration in Ayodhya” in its March 7 show-cause notice. Anand Patwardhan’s documentary “Ram ke Naam” has won a national prize previously.

In an interview with The Week, Ramdas, when questioned about using the institutions for his political activities, gave the following reply:

……Secondly, whether we have “misused” the name of TISS or not. The institute asked me to explain it on March 7. I duly replied. I can confirm that I have attended a Parliament march. I was one of the speakers. There is nothing to hide about that. But what is the capacity in which I attended it? Yes, I am a student of TISS. But that is not the only identity that I am holding. I am a citizen of this country. I do have equal constitutional rights as everyone else in this country. Not only me, but all other students who have joined the march. So, all of them belong to some other university. Everyone has the right to attend there. And this was a programme conducted at a place allotted by the Delhi Police—a law enforcing agency of the land. So, if the Delhi Police has no problem, if they are allotting it time, there is nothing unusual taking place. A peaceful gathering and a public meeting taking place, what is wrong with it?

And whether we have used TISS’s name there or not, or pretended that we are officially representing TISS or not. No, we didn’t represent TISS. In every campus in the country, student organisations use the name of the university along with their name to communicate the constituency in which they are working in. So, when PSF works in TISS, it will be PSF-TISS. Not only PSF, there are seven other organisations also doing the same. So, it should not be a problem when one organisation or one individual within an organisation is using it. One of the organisations which is using TISS’s name along with their name is DSSF, which is an ABVP-affiliated organisation. If they can be use it, there shouldn’t be a problem when PSF uses them.

The allegation is we have “misused” it in the Parliament march. There is an official pamphlet jointly undersigned and released by all organisations in which there is no mention of TISS. It was only PSF.”

The Progressive Student Forum, a left-leaning student body Prini Sivanandan is associated with, said the march referred to by the TISS was related to “anti-student policies in the form of the National Education Policy.”.

Read Also: Dalit Student Faces Online Harassment and Threats Over WhatsApp Status

Featured Image Credits: Onmanorama

Saanvi Manchanda

[email protected]

St. Stephen’s College had allegedly suspended around 100 first-year students last week “for not attending the morning assembly” and debarred them from sitting in the upcoming examinations. On Tuesday, the college withdrew its order, citing miscommunication on the part of the administration. 

More than 100 students of St. Stephen’s College had been suspended for not attending the morning assembly after they failed to bring their parents and guardians with them to meet the college principal. The students had also been notified that they would not be allowed to sit for the upcoming semester-end examinations. However, the principal informed the students on Tuesday that this was all a clerical error and that the email was “wrongly worded” as per The Hindu. 

Students of St. Stephen’s College received an email on February 4 asking them to set up an appointment along with their parents and guardians with the college principal to discuss the matter of low attendance. As many students failed to comply with this request on short notice, they were sent another email on February 17, informing them that they had been suspended. 

The email from Principal John Varghese stated, “This is to bring to your kind notice that there was a prior request for you to meet with the principal regarding low attendance in the morning assembly. Unfortunately, we noted that you were unable to report to the principal’s office as requested. Regrettably, due to non-compliance with this request, I inform you that the students will not be permitted to sit for the upcoming examinations as a consequence of suspension.” 

Many teachers from the college had raised concerns about the unexpected suspension and had come forth in saying that the grounds for suspension are not legitimate as the morning assembly is a convention specific to St. Stephen’s College and is not recognised by the university (not to talk of it being a requirement for appearing in the examinations).

The notices had also caused distress among students as many of them do not belong to the Delhi-NCR region and live alone without a guardian; hence, their families couldn’t travel all the way to Delhi “at short notice due to prior commitments, scheduling issues, and financial issues. 

The order by the principal was met with a lot of discontent, and as students sat in protest, the college was informed on Tuesday through an email from Principal John Varghese that “it was a miscommunication, incorrectly worded, and my sincere apologies for that. I was also not copied on that email.

“The morning assembly is an old tradition of the college. It is not a religious event, even though small portions of several religious texts are read out. The college encourages all junior members to participate in the morning assembly,” it added.

Read Also: Delhi University’s SOL Launches Center for Innovative Skill-based Courses

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Saanvi Manchanda 

[email protected]

As a result of the protests and hunger strike staged in September, about 10 students have been suspended for one to four months.

Back in September, Hindu College made news when over 30 nominations for the positions of its ‘Prime Minister’ and ‘Central Councillors’ of the students’ union were rejected. The administration had cited low attendance as the reason, but students called it a purposeful ‘attack on democracy’. Chaos ensued as multiple protests and a hunger strike were staged by the students. About 10 students have been suspended as a result of engaging in ‘indiscipline’ during the events of this election. 

The suspensions are to last one to four months, and students will be able to rejoin college after giving an undertaking stating that in the future, they will not partake in the “destruction of institutional property” and not cause “disruption in any manner of academic functioning”. Principal Anju Srivastava has said that the discipline committee of the college took this decision after investigating the issue for several days and that the decision was based on documentary evidence, which found the particular students guilty of offences of damage to college property and disruption of academics. 

Further, she added that this action was not taken as a result of protesting by the students but the indiscipline that accompanied it, and that the students would need to provide a written undertaking, promising that such acts of ‘indiscipline’ will not be repeated in the future. One such act of indiscipline that was ordered into inquiry, was that the students didn’t allow the principal to exit her office during one of the protests. However, the rustications are for a finite period, depending on every individual’s level of involvement. 

An explanation regarding the reason for their suspension was provided to the rusticated students. The email, dated October 27, read, “Consequent upon explanation furnished by you and proofs of your involvement shown through photos and videos in the possession of the Disciplinary Resource Committee (DRC)… found that your conduct during 15-18 September 2023, falls under the following acts of gross indiscipline under Ordinance XV-B (Maintenance of discipline among students of the university)… willful destruction of institutional property… causing disruption in any manner of the academic functioning of the University System.” 

Read also: Rise in DU Law Applications  

Featured image source: CNBC News

Arshiya Pathania

[email protected] 

As the Daulat Ram College Principal, Dr Savita Roy, faces casteist harassment allegations from a former staff member, organizations have gathered in the Arts Faculty area of North Campus, DU, to demand the former’s suspension.

Since August 28, 2023, the Bhim Army Student Federation (BASF) and Mission Save Constitution have staged an ongoing, 24/7, sit-in protest that demands the suspension of Daulat Ram College Principal, Dr. Savita Roy. Dr. Roy has been accused of perpetrating caste-based discrimination and firing former ad hoc Assistant Professor, Dr. Ritu Singh, without a show-cause notice.

The case dates back to 2020, when Dr. Singh was allegedly fired without proper notice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She came out with accusations against the Principal at the time, saying that the latter took issue with her social activism and political stances. She was also accused of passing casteist remarks and slurs.

Initially, Dr. Singh’s plea was dismissed by both the Sessions Court and High Court and also failed to register as an FIR by the Delhi Police, citing a lack of evidence. Only after she approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes was an FIR filed last year against the Principal, as well as DU Registrar Vikas Gupta, under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

The Quint elaborated on the various accounts under which FIR was filed and chargesheeted: “Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document or record) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 3(u) (promoting feelings of ill-will, enmity or hatred against a member of the SC/ST community, through words or signs) and 3(2)vii (committing any offence under this section as a public servant) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989”.

Dr. Singh’s case is being represented by her lawyer, Adv. Mehmood Pracha, who is also the National Convenor for Mission Save Constitution. When the Principal came out with a statement saying that Dr. Singh’s removal had been on the basis of a complaint against her signed by 35 students, Pracha claimed that these 35 students had allegedly not even studied under Dr. Singh.

The Mission’s Delhi Convenor, Rajesh Kumar, said in conversation with DU Beat,

If Dr Savita Roy has been booked under such heinous allegations and had a chargesheet filed against her, how is she still holding this post?

The ongoing protest has been organised by the Bhim Army Student Federation in alliance with Mission Save Constitution and awaits an appropriate response from the University administration and Vice Chancellor.

Read also: DU Teachers’ Associations Unite to Take on RSS-backed Union in DUTA Elections

Featured Image Credits: Vanya Garud for DU Beat

Sanika Singh
[email protected]