Alleging that he was being ‘targeted’ for backing the protests over Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, Amit Sengupta a senior professor from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Delhi resigned after he was posted to Orissa, saying said that the prestigious varsity had been reduced into a ‘hand-maiden of a vicious, undemocratic and partisan regime’.
“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,” he said in his resignation letter.
However, he asserted that he was proud of standing up for Rohith Vemula and said that he will continue to do so as it was his constitutional right adding that he will always stand and fight for Dalit rights.
Alleging of being targeted because he supported the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students, Sengupta said that the basic values of India’s progressive Constitution was also being targeted.
“It was an honour for me, as a former JNUSU president, to address the open air gathering of faculty and students of JNU, in which the finest of minds in India and abroad have participated. I am proud of being part of the great intellectual and political tradition of JNU, which cultivates independent critical thinking, open windows of enlightenment and pluralist and secular doors of perception, aligned with the poor, the Dalits, the adivasis, the minorities, and backward and marginalized sections of Indian society,” the professor said.
He added in his letter that he was paying a price for teaching his students that that they will never do journalism which professes ‘xenophobia, casteism, sexism, racism, and communalism. That they should be objective and impartial. Also, that they should have open-ended, non-dogmatic and independent minds, and stand for truth and public interest, come what may.’
Amit Sengupta was an Associate Professor of English Journalism at the IIMC.