Kerala University Removes Department Head For Casteist Remarks Against PhD Candidate

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The Logical Indian Crew

Kerala University Removes Department Head For Casteist Remarks Against PhD Candidate

The student alleged that the director had opposed opening the department laboratory and providing other facilities for her because of her background. The incident also brought in political attention. Congress leader V D Satheesan said that the woman's hunger strike against caste discrimination insulted Kerala.

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The Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala's Kottayam removed the Director of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology department from his post for his casteist remarks against a PhD candidate belonging to the Dalit community.

The administration took cognisance of the matter on Saturday, November 6.

Scholar Deepa P Mohanan joined the university in 2011 for her MPhil. She had raised a complaint with director Nandakumar Kalarikkal five years ago, alleging that he opposed opening the Nanoscience laboratory and providing other facilities for her because of her background.

At the time, a two-member panel had probed the allegation and found them substantial, The Indian Express reported.

Following this, Kalarikkal was removed from the post but was brought back as Director in 2017. The student said his rejoining was illegal as the High Court and SC/ST Commission had upheld the order, and the university had yet to implement it.

Mohanan has been on a hunger strike for almost a week since October 30.

Govt's Assurance

The matter was brought to the state government's attention, which ensured the student of justice. State Higher Education Minister Prof R Bindu assured Mohanan of availing all the facilities required to complete her PhD and ordered the Vice-Chancellor to look into the matter directly.

The minister requested Mohanan to end her strike; however, she said the action taken was just an 'eyewash', and she would continue to protest until the Director was sacked.

"I am experiencing inexplicable trauma these days, and I can understand why Rohith Vemula ended his life. But I won't recoil from the protest until justice is delivered. I have to do this for many others who have lost such battles for justice," the 36-year-old scholar told the media.

Political Attention

The incident also brought in political attention. Congress leader V D Satheesan said that the woman's hunger strike against caste discrimination insulted Kerala.

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