Suspension of Dissenting Teachers in UoH: Read Prof. Sreepati Ramudu’s Reply to Vipin Shrivastava

Day 2 Hunger Strike in UoH by Prof K Y Ratnam and Tathagata Senupta

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After Prof.Sreepati Ramudu resigned recently in protest against the appointment of Vipin Srivastava as Pro-Vice Chancellor (who was the chairperson of the sub-committee, executive council that took the decision of social boycott against rohith and four others and also yet another institutional murderer of a dalit student in 2008), Vipin Srivastava defamed and humiliated Prof. Sreepati Ramudu further and said “he doesn’t work”. This is Sreepati Ramudu’s response to Vipin Srivastava point by point.

Prof. Sreepati Ramudu writes,

“This is in response to the statements made by Prof.Vipin Srivastava as reported in rediff.com and other places where he states “I don’t know if he is protesting…but he has not been happy since January. He was not signing any papers…he was not cooperating in administrative matters. He was not attending to any work”. This is a gross misrepresentation of facts with a view to defame Dalit faculty as those who are irresponsible and inefficient, a typical attitude of the brahmanical mindset. I give below the sequence of events which eventually led to my resignation as an individual.

Subsequent to the death of Rohith on January 17, 2016 and the abdication of responsibility by Prof.Appa Rao and his continuation as VC while absconding from the campus, the misrepresentation of facts by Minister HRD, Smriti Irani, the SC/ST teachers’ forum took a collective decision to resign from all administrative posts on January 21, 2016. When Prof. Appa Rao proceeded on leave and Prof.Vipin Srivastava was appointed interim VC and asked Forum faculty to resume duties, the Forum conveyed their refusal to him as he was implicated in the deaths of both Mr.Senthil Kumar and Mr.Rohith Vemula. Eventually, he proceeded on leave and Prof.Periasamy took over as the interim VC. In response to his appeal to the SC/ST Faculty Forum to withdraw their resignations and resume duty, the Forum sent him a mail stating that the withdrawal of resignations is conditional. We wrote to him as follows: “We reiterate our demands (a. resignation of Prof Appa Rao, b. Prof Vipin Srivastav should not resume VC position, c. Impartial Judicial Probe) and unless these demands are met within a reasonable time, we will resort to protests again.” When Prof. Appa Rao took over as VC as March 22, 2016, the Forum sent him an email on April 7, 2016 stating “We withdrew the resignations conditionally on request from Prof. Periasamy in our email dated 3/2/2016 (please find the email attached). In continuation of this decision conveyed, we now reiterate our stand that we are resigning from our positions since you have returned as VC before the judicial probe is completed as well as in the light of the highly disturbing events that have taken place on the campus since your return, especially, the targeting of students and particularly Dalit students leading to the arrest of many students who had done nothing except peacefully protest against your return as VC.”. In response, Prof. Appa Rao wrote on April 8, 2016 asking that individual faculty resign and not convey it through the Forum. The Forum replied to this as follows on April 12, 2016: “The Forum represents the collective will of the community. Its decision is not reducible to individual members of the community. By asking the forum members to individually give reasons for their resignations, you are downplaying the community’s experience of continuing caste atrocity on the campus.”. There was no reply from Prof. Appa Rao to this email.

Despite the fact that as part of the collective decision, I no longer truly held the post of Head, CSSEIP, but I felt morally responsible for the smooth functioning of the centre and continued to discharge my duties with diligence until the end of 3rd week of April. However, there was absolutely no attempt at dialogue by the administration nor was an action of any kind taken by it to the collective decision of the Forum. In his signature style of functioning, Prof. Appa Rao never called for a meeting with the SC/ST Teachers’ Forum to resolve this issue. Just as he simply ignored Rohith’s letter of December 18, 2015, his response was to ignore the letters that the Forum sent him expressing their dissent and distress regarding the situation prevailing on campus. He has displayed his casteist mindset through his unwillingness to have a single meeting with the Forum faculty so far since the death of Mr.Rohith Vemula. To rub further salt into the wounds of the Forum, he proceeded to appoint Prof.Vipin Srivastava as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor-1. In this situation, the only option I felt that was open to me to protest was to resign in my individual capacity, especially since I felt responsible for the problems of students. If I were not somebody with a concscience as Prof. Appa Rao demonstrates amply with his continuing attacks on Dalits on campus, I would not have taken this step. What has been the response of the administration to the various resignation letters submitted to them by not just the Forum faculty but others as well?

I consider the spread of lies and half-truths against me by the administration OF prof Apparao,especially prof.Vipin Srivatsava as false propaganda against dalits on camupus to defame them.This misrepresentation of facts vindicate only a small bit of the hostile atmosphere of the administration against dalits. I condemn the false propaganda of the administration of Prof.Apparao on the following grounds.

1. If I idid not work as HOD since January 2016,how did I attend the Academic Council Meeting on 06.4.2016 at VC’s bunglow in which I have openly questioned the moral right of Prof.Apparao to countinue as VC which has been widely covered by the national media.

2. If I was indeed not working from January as implied by Prof. Srivastava, which can be easily disproved by showing any number of documents signed by me until the third week of April, why did the administration not take any action? It could have discussed the same with me .Is it because the administration is the one which is not really working? How is it that the administration suddenly discovers that.But Srivatsava propagates a blantant lie against me that I was not working since January ,which I consider an intimidation and conspiracy against dalits on campus to implicate them falsely. This clearly indicates how justice is a far cry for dalits on this campus.

3. I suggested my office staff to get the letters signed by the dean in order to avoid inconvenience to students and faculty of the centre that too only in the last week of April. Since there was no response from the administration to the collective resignations, the SC/ST faculty forum has decided not attend the administrative works which I have complied with. In fact we only have sent the student, to get his seminar form signed from the dean whom srivatasva was citing, .

4. Prof.Srivatsava stating that I was not attending ‘any work’ is an utter lie as I have been quite regularly attending my routine duties as a teacher. He should have consulted the office of the CSSEIP to get the information about my working in the centre. But without caring for the facts Prof.Srivatsava spreading lies against me exposes his casteist and discriminatory mind-set and the callous nature of the administration towards dalit in the campus.

5. He has also stated that he did not know if I was protesting. This an insult to the protesting dalit teachers on the campus as the SC/ST Faculty Forum has been regularly registering the protest its members to the administration from time to time. This exhibits the hostile attitude of the administration towards the issues of dalits.

In view of the above facts I condemn the spread of half-truths,lies,intimidation and conspiracies by the administration against Dalit faculty, projecting them in a bad light to intimidate them into submission and also to protect its own skin from charges of irresponsibility that are far more admissible.”