Academicians Partha Chatterjee and Judith Butler Tuesday submitted a letter, along with a petition, to the President of India against the alleged ‘persistent hounding’ of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Professor Nivedita Menon. More than 1,800 academics, artists, activists and filmmakers, including actors Sharmila Tagore and Aparna Sen, have signed the petition.
Menon, a professor at the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, was recently removed as the Chairperson of her Centre for allegedly insulting members of a selection committee. The university also has an enquiry pending against her for “instigating” students to disrupt an Academic Council (AC) meeting in December 2016.
“We are writing to you on behalf of an international fraternity of academics with a petition in support of Nivedita Menon… We are concerned about the way Professor Menon has had to face repeated attacks from the university administration on her basic right to hold an opinion. We therefore request you to use your good offices to immediately intervene in the matter and restore the atmosphere of healthy debate for which JNU has been recognised in the entire academic world,” Chatterjee and Butler have written in the letter.
In the letter, they said they were worried that “the hostile atmosphere created by the university administration will seriously harm Professor Menon’s ability to teach, carry out research and pursue intellectual collaborations in a peaceful and productive manner”.
In the petition, it has been said they are “deeply concerned by the persistent hounding” of Menon. When contacted, an EC member said, “The administration got formal complaints from members of a selection committee who said she (Menon) had insulted them.