Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 28:
A Dalit research scholar from Odisha, who is pursuing his PhD at Jawarharlal Nehru University (JNU), has complained to the university vice-chancellor and SII Dean against caste bias by the department over non release of UGC research scholarship.
Madan Meher in his letter to the S K Sopory, JNU vice-chancellor as well as the School of International Studies Dean, has threatened to commit suicide if his complaints are ignored. Mohan, a native of Dhama village in Sambalpur, after completing his MA from Sambalpur University joined MPhil in JNU in 2008, he later registered as a PhD scholar in the same university in 2010.
In his complaint to the vice chancellor, Meher has alleged that since he was admitted to School of International Studies, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD) in 2008, he has been subjected to casteist bias and mental torture.
He has alleged that repeated complaints to the authorities have resulted in no action against the erring staff; his research scholarship has also been stopped.
Recently, Meher had to return to Odisha as his father and brother passed away. He had been selected after a year by Belgium Capital University in Brussels for PhD field work. He has been given Rs 66,660 as travel expenses from the University for tickets to Brussels.
The spell of tragedies did not end there. Unfortunately, his grandmother fell sick and he had to spend all the money towards her treatment. All his efforts went in vain as she passed away and he was unable to go to Brussels.
Upon return, to resume his studies, he appealed to the university authorities to release his Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) to complete his PhD in the remaining two years’ time. But no fund has been released yet.
Following the complaint, the Union HRD ministry has directed the JNU vice-chancellor to take immediate action on Meher’s complaint. The comptroller of examination has been instructed to resolve the issue as soon as possible, while the university security officer has been asked to keep an eye on Madan.
JNU students’ union has criticized the case and alleged that many Dalit students in the university are being abused and misbehaved by the authorities and teachers in the premier university.
Meanwhile, recent suicide of Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old Dalit PhD scholar, who was found hanging at Hyderabad Central University’s hostel room on 17 January, has sparked nationwide outrage.