March 18, 2016

India: Minorities panel wants inquiry against JNU professor

The Times of India

Minorities panel wants inquiry against professor
New Delhi: There's fresh trouble for JNU professor, Amita Singh. The National Commission for Minorities has written to the vice-chancellor, asking him to recognise and investigate a complaint against Singh filed by members of the Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association and People's Union for Civil Liberties
These organisations have objected to Singh's alleged remarks on Bijnore-in the interview, she assumed Umar Khalid was from Bijnore-Jamia Millia Islamia University and the surrounding area.
They have also accused her of "singling out two Muslim students (one of them a Kashmiri woman)". Singh is the chairperson of Centre for the Study of Law and Governance.
"She...draw(s) into the circle of suspicion the entire district of Bijnore by labelling it " aatank ka gad" (bastion of terrorism), where according to her, even the Islamic State has a base. Bijnore, (which) the professor believes is the native town of Umar Khalid-for the record, it is not-is a minority concentrated district with close to 43% Muslim population. By insinuating that it is home to terrorism and illegal cow slaughter business, the faculty member is clearly attempting to cast aspersions on a community and a town with no basis at all," the complaint read. The complaint is based on the same interview that had earlier invited a notice to JNU from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.
Referring to Singh's comments on Jamia, the complaint read, "She continues this irresponsible conjecturing by labelling Jamia Millia Islamia, and indeed the whole of Jamia Nagar, the neighbourhood abutting the university, also as a den of anti-nationals. Again, it is not difficult to see that the only basis of her fantastical allegations is that Jamia university and Jamia Nagar are predominantly Muslim."
"A letter has gone from the commission to JNU. We've asked the VC to verify the allegations in the complaint. This is a matter of grave concern to us and it is about upholding the values of the Constitution and social justice," said NCM member Farida Khan.
Singh, however, maintained she "never gave any interview" and the recording was of a conversation.
She alleged that the journalist had slipped into her room with students of the Sanskrit Centre and asked her to "help (him) understand the problem" so he could write a story for his online paper. Singh argued that "the vulnerabilities of Muslims and Dalits are exploited in JNU".
She also believed her comments on Bijnore were "taken out of context". "I work in animal protection, in cow protection...I was pointing out the attitudinal difference between the Muslims of Bijnore and the Muslims of Sambhal who work with us to protect cows. This is the sort of co-existence we aim at. In Bijnore, we've been struggling for 18-20 years," Singh said.