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‘I Will Be Made to Disappear like Najeeb’: Muslim Faculty at JNU Accuses VC M Jagadesh Kumar, Other Faculty of Religious Discrimination, Harassment

The Delhi Minorities Commission has issued a notice to JNU administration, saying they find her claim "prima facie, quite credible."

The Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) reportedly issued a notice as well as an interim order to the registrar of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) following a complaint from a Muslim faculty member who alleged “targeted harassment, exploitation, and discrimination” at the hands of the University administration.

Per a report in The Wirein her complaint to the DMC, 40-year-old Rosina Nasir, an assistant professor at the university’s Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), wrote about being targeted by vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar and chairperson of CSSEIP Yagati Chinna Rao.

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Nasir, who lives on JNU campus with her husband and her child,  asked the DMC to intervene, citing that she was forced to quit her job by the two “powerful” men, and that she feared for her own safety and that of her child.

“It seems to me if I will not quit the faculty position in the CSSEIP, I will be made to disappear like Najeeb (JNU student who went missing from the campus three years ago and whose whereabouts are still unknown),” the letter reportedly says.

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“From October 2017 onwards, JNU stopped paying me salary despite the extension of CSSEIP Scheme by the UGC,” her letter further says, adding that despite multiple visits and written application for the release of her salary have been ignored by the University administration.

The JNU administration has reportedly denied the allegations. “She is in the university as part of a planned project by UGC and is not a permanent employee. Her salary is issued by the UGC and not by the varsity. The UGC had not released the salary but now they have released it and she has been paid,” a university official told News18.

“I have been appointed through a grant-in-aid scheme but never faced this issue before. I haven’t heard of any other faculty member appointed through this scheme in other central universities facing this problem,” she added, reported The Wire. 

She had approached the Delhi High Court in November 2018 along with a fellow faculty member at the CSSIEP Kaustav Banerjee.  While Banerjee resigned after his salary was not paid for 10 months, Nasir continued to work at the University. Her salary was released in May 2019 following a Delhi HC order, but it was stopped again in April 2019, the report added.

“The administration officials including the rector asked me to quit if I wanted to prosper in academia. They said I wouldn’t be allowed to continue with my work because I was a Muslim,” she told The Wire.

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Nasir, was asked to vacate her residential accommodation which was allotted to her on the basis of the wardenship of a hostel. However, she was removed from the post of warden.“I replied to all letters in this regard and showed intent to vacate and sought time,” she told The Wire, adding that the administration was now threatening to forcefully evict her with the help of the police. She pointed out to the vice-chancellor’s “hatred for her identity”, claiming that he was using his discretionary powers in order to harass her.

In her letter to the DMC, she has pointed out that Yagati Chinna Rao was previously “punished” by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at the University for making comments on her pregnancy and maternity leave, and was sent to a gender sensitivity workshop. She says that Rao is now deliberately excluding her from faculty meetings and other academic activities.

In its letter, the DMC reportedly said, “We feel that, prima facie, the complainant is being harassed and humiliated in gross misuse of powers by the accused persons and find her claim that this is being done only for her being a Muslim is, prima facie, quite credible,” and ordered the university to release her salary by July 26. The University has been asked to file a reply by August 1.

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