Denied promotion, JNU Professor alleges caste bias

Written by Aranya Shankar
| New Delhi |
Published:June 13, 2017 4:42 am

An Associate Professor of English at JNU has alleged that the vice-chancellor stopped his promotion to professorship because of a “fictive” reason, despite a majority of the Selection Committee approving it. The move will ultimately need approval from the Executive Council, which is scheduled to meet on June 30.

Saitya Brata Das, who teaches at the Centre for English Studies, alleged his “different caste (Das is a Dalit)” or differing “political views” may be behind the decision. Das and the JNU Teachers’ Association have asked that “the V-C reconvene the same Selection Committee within a period of two weeks to re-evaluate his application for promotion”, failing which they will “file complaints of discrimination by the V-C to all available bodies, including the SC/ST Commission”.

Das said that his interview on May 30 was “very good, perhaps my best”. Das said he was informally informed about the decision by one of the members of the panel, which comprised three experts, the Chairperson of the Centre, Dean of the School, the V-C and the Visitor’s nominee. Das claims he was told that although the experts and the Chairperson were in favour of his promotion, the V-C differed, stating that he couldn’t be promoted as no student has been awarded a PhD degree under his supervision. V-C M Jagadesh Kumar did not respond to queries by The Indian Express.

“ I can only guess but the decision may have to do with my different caste, and my political views,” claimed Das. CES chairperson Udaya Kumar said, “I consider his academic achievements as excellent and believe that he deserves to be promoted.”

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