While there have been a number of complaints of unfriendly behaviour towards JNU students after the recent controversy, even former JNU professors do not seem to be insulated from the alleged ‘anti-JNU’ feelings across India.
The latest incident involves Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ) where a professor was suspended for inviting a former JNU professor to an event marking Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s 140th birth anniversary.
Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji, an associate professor of Centre for English Studies at CUJ, was suspended for “tarnishing” the image of university and putting the reputation of Vice-Chancellor Nand Kumar Yadav at stake by inviting “Prof MN Panini from JNU as Guest of Honor for the event on March 19, 2016 without prior permission from the office of VC.”
According to the suspension order issued on Monday “Prof Panini is considered as mentor of the group of students of JNU, who were involved in anti-national activities in JNU campus recently. As such, the invitation to Prof Panini by Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji, without examining his credentials, led to widespread criticism from different quarters of the society.”
It also says, “the decision of Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji, Associate Professor, Center of English Language, regarding sharing the dais by Hon’ble Governor, State of Jharkhand with a person of disputed integrity (Prof Panini) ultimately led to the cancellation of visit of Hon’ble Governor, State of Jharkhand in the university campus on 19th March 2016.”
But it was not only Bhattacharji who had invited Panini.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the VC of CUJ had expressed his happiness to Panini for accepting the university’s invitation to deliver a lecture when the same event was scheduled few months ago. While the event was postponed, Panini didn’t see a similar response this time.
Reports said the decision to cancel the invitation to Panini was taken at the eleventh hour after some university students expressed their reservation over Panini’s presence at the event.
On March 20, The Hindu reported that the university had made full travel arrangements for Professor Panini to fly from his residence in Mysore to Ranchi on March 19. However, Panini received a call from VC Yadav on the evening of March 18, informing him that the trip was cancelled.
Despite repeated attempts, VC of CUJ was not available for comment on Wednesday.
Feature image source: Facebook/Shreya Bhattacharji