Home State Delhi-NCR How daily caste ego practice in Ambedkar University, Delhi making student vulnerable
Delhi-NCR - Social - State - September 24, 2017

How daily caste ego practice in Ambedkar University, Delhi making student vulnerable

Last year a Dalit research scholar, Rohit Vemula committed suicide because of institutionalised oppressive structure in his University. And 20 months later another Queer Dalit student facing similar wrath from his college administration because of the identity he holds.

“I am no more a student of Ambedkar University Delhi. My right to education has been obstructed.” Akunth is an undergraduate student of social science discipline at Ambedkar University, Delhi wrote an open letter expressing the exploitation he is facing since the last couple of months. The University which supposed to be liberal and
progressive in thought is denying the rights second-year student to continue his study.

“We need to pass in 14 paper to get promoted in final year and examination results usually declares in the month of July till then we remain we remain unaware of our fate. I passed in 12 papers and challenged the result of three courses. In one paper I don’t even receive single a grade since last year. Whenever I approach the teacher for grades he kept on postponing and also lure me into a trap during compartment exams”, said Akunth. The Ambedkar University has no policy of rechecking and when I went to the teacher for a solution, on record I received a reply that my answer script is lost already, he said it later. In Ambedkar University the formal mechanism of conducting examination is slightly different. The teachers hold the supreme authority to decide when what and how to conduct examinations. In Akunth case his teacher refuses to accept his submission
because it was handwritten. The reason stated by the teacher was that the submitted work is unorganised, rough and non-academic.

Akunth while talking to National India News, said “My computer suddenly broke down in the morning of submission and me unable to print my assignment at the moment. I had to handwrite my assignment again to submit on decided date. The immediate question is what if every student has no equal medium to submit? Don’t
they have right to study who can’t print their assignment?”

Besides these, his teacher several times on and off mail questioned his identity and commented on his queer originality despite knowing the fact that he is taking therapy to deal with caste and homophobic element in the campus. He has been thoroughly shamed by his teacher and abused multiple times on the line of sexuality
and caste.

His case was first referred to an internal committee which follows no policy. The Dean of the faculty randomly formed a four-member committee in which ironically she invited two teachers from the same department who is facing the charge. She sat in committee with one more teacher about whom Akunth was not informed. The case was of caste discrimination but in a dramatic move, no representation caste expert or people from Bahujan or Queer community were made. In fact, he was asked to stay away from student union for any kind of help.

However internal committee concluded the report which favoured the teacher. For further appeal, it was mandatory to have the report but Akuth was denied from any copy and committee said ‘it holds discretionary power to decide and do anything. “There is the fact that there is no policy which allows them to constitute such a
committee and it is all left to the "discretionary powers" of the Dean. Till date, I have not received any clarification as to how the committee investigated, decided in favour of faculty involved. When I asked for the report of the committee, I was told that I am not liable for it, further making it impossible for me to appeal and seek justice. The committee has reduced, a human being to a piece of paper”, writes Akunth in his letter.

The case was then forwarded to Student-Faculty Committee where again no student was invited to attained the meeting. However, in a similar pattern, SFC recommended that it’s the sole authority of the teacher whether to accept or reject the assignment. “This entire process of seeking justice has made me vulnerable”, said Ankuth.

There are several cases throughout India has been reported on caste privileges system working in universities. Akunth in his letter questioned such privileges, he wrote, “If it’s the teacher’s prerogative to accept the assignment in whatever format they desire, student welfare is a part of whose prerogative? And this blatant caste ego plays out daily in the institution named after Ambedkar.”

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