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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 April 2024

Academics denounce 'persecution' of Jindal Global Law School professor, demands FIR withdrawal

As part of an innovative teaching practice, Sameena Dalwai took the help of students to create a profile on a dating app with an imaginary name to analyse the responses and use of caste, class, sexuality and religion. However, some students circulated the videos of the experiment on social media

Basant Kumar Mohanty New Delhi Published 08.01.24, 06:31 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Over 500 academics from across the globe have come out in support of a faculty member of a private university in Haryana who is facing a police case over alleged harassment of students, and said the teacher was being "persecuted" for her religious identity and political beliefs.

The academics have issued a statement to demand the withdrawal of the FIR filed by the Haryana State Commission for Women (HSCW) against Sameena Dalwai who teaches at Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) under O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), Sonipat.

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As part of an innovative teaching practice, Dalwai on September 23 took the help of students to create a profile on a dating app with an imaginary name to analyse the responses and use of caste, class, sexuality and religion. However, some students circulated the videos of the experiment on social media. The HSCW filed an FIR last month against Dalwai for allegedly outraging the modesty of girl students.

The signatories of the statement include historian Ramachandra Guha; Vasuki Nesiah, New York University; Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania; Gowri Vijayakumar, Brandeis University, Waltham, USA; Rupal Oza, Hunter College, New York; Harbansh Mukhai, retired faculty member of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU); Mukul Sharma, Ashoka University; Shirin Rai, SOAS University, London; Malavika Kasturi, University of Toronto; Bhaskar Gupta and Nandini Shah from Jadavpur University; Suryakant Waghmore, IIT Bombay; and Gitanjali Surendran, JGLS.

“We are troubled to see that the university did not follow any due process to establish truth, innocence or guilt. Without any enquiry or an opportunity to defend herself, Dr Dalwai was served a showcause notice and thereafter a warning on twin charges of ‘harming the dignity of women’ and ‘discrimination of students on religious and ideological basis’. By succumbing to political pressure thus, Jindal university has set a damning precedent for future attacks on academic freedom,” said the statement.

“A Women’s Commission charging her with ‘harming the dignity of women’ is an utter travesty. Sameena Dalwai comes from a mixed family of many religions and languages. To those of us who know her, she exhibits a truly global personality and deep understanding of the diversity of cultures that is India. We believe she is being persecuted for her Muslim identity and her political beliefs, by people who define India with a narrow, ignorant lens,” the statement said.

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