IIMC prof resigns: ‘Was targeted for backing Vemula, JNU protests’

Amit Sengupta, an Associate Professor English Journalism department, quit after an order was issued transferring him to the premier media school's campus in Odisha's Dhenkanal district, which he slammed as a "political decision".

Written by Raghvendra Rao | New Delhi | Updated: March 5, 2016 1:47 am
iimc-759 Reacting to the charges, Sengupta said views expressed on social media fell on his personal domain and was his “constitutional right”.

Accusing the government of having “targeted” him because of his support to the protests over Dalit student Rohith Vemula’s suicide and recent issues relating to JNU and FTII, a senior faculty member at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) resigned from his post on Friday protesting against the institute’s move to move him to its Dhenkanal campus in Odisha.

Stating that the order to move him “was issued without any discussion with me or any faculty member”, Associate Professor Amit Sengupta added that “this violates every principle of academic freedom and autonomy of IIMC”. “You have reduced IIMC into a hand-maiden of a vicious, undemocratic and partisan regime,” Sengupta wrote in his resignation letter to IIMC’s OSD Anurag Misra.

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“I presume that this is a clear case of victimization. If this is the way the faculty is treated then your administration has willfully chosen to dump the fundamental ethics of the Indian Constitution, and the dignity of the teaching profession. Certainly, this is part of a larger witch-hunt against intellectual freedom, academic autonomy and professional excellence, to target and eliminate individuals who this regime has declared as enemies for reasons only they know,” Sengupta, who taught English Journalism at IIMC since October 2014, wrote in his resignation.

Stating that he was aware that he had been targeted because he supported the solidarity protest for Rohith Vemula in the IIMC campus, Sengupta wrote, “I am proud of standing up for Rohith Vemula, and will continue to do so in the days to come. This is my constitutional right. I think grave injustice has been done to him and the students of the Hyderabad Central University. I will always stand and fight for Dalit rights.” He added that he had also been targeted because he supported the JNU and FTII students.

“I think both the struggles are glorious and the country will enrich itself with the great leap of imagination and the brilliant content of the peaceful, democratic debate the students and faculty of these great institutions have generated,” Sengupta wrote in his resignation.

“All institutes of learning are under attack. The targetting is from the top to stifle all forms of independent thinking. And IIMC is also a target,” Sengupta told The Indian Express.

While IIMC’s OSD Anurag Misra was not available for comments, senior officials of the Information & Broadcasting ministry, too, did not wish to comment on record. However, ministry sources argued that Sengupta had not been “transferred” and that his services had been “temporarily” placed at Dhenkanal because of the requirement of staff there.

While insisting that “there was nothing personal” in moving Sengupta to Dhenkanal, government sources, however, pointed out that the conduct of the Associate Professor had been under a watch following a social media post of his in which he allegedly attempted to “instigate” IIMC students to protest against Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

 

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