A Brahmin student of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, (BBAU) Lucknow, beat up his Dalit professor on Monday (9 July 2018). Associate Professor Dr. L C Mallaiah, from the Department of Economics was beaten up by a student by the name Sanjay Upadhyay, also from the same department. Dr. Mallaiah was taken to a hospital.
A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the student under sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) 506 (criminal intimidation) 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and provisions of SC/ST Act.
Dr. Mallaiah was mentoring Upadhyay’s research. The thesis by the student had been sent for external evaluation and it had been sent back asking for some revisions to be made. It is said that Upadhyay wanted the professor to send his thesis back with an approval note. When Dr. Mallaiah refused to do it, Upadhyay started abusing him taking caste names like chamar and also beat him up.
Students said that Upadhyay was often seen attending meetings by ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)).
Speaking to TWJ, one of the students at the University who did not want to reveal their name said that there were other professors in the department who wanted professor Mallaiah to sign Upadhyay’s thesis. After the incident happened, these professors by the name Sanatan Nayak and Head of the Department (HoD) Professor Neel Mani Prasad Verma (N M P Verma) are said to have hidden the student for a couple of hours before he was arrested.
Dr. Mallaiah said that the student had come from professor Verma’s chamber and after beating him up had gone to professor Nayak’s chamber. He said that these two professors have been harassing him from the time he joined the university. They did not want students to complete research under him and wanted to cause damage to his career. “Even though my promotion is due from 2014, it has not been sanctioned yet,” he explained.
Dr Mallaiah had complained against the behaviour of these two professors to the Vice Chancellor but he said that no action had been taken.
Professor Sanatan Nayak denied any involvement in the matter and said that the ‘problems’ between Upadhyay and Dr. Mallaiah started a year ago. These were ‘settled’ in an internal meeting. All other allegations were ‘rubbish’ he said. Professor Nayak then added that Dr. Malliah was not qualified to be an associate professor and had forged his certificates.
Responding to this allegation by professor Nayak, Dr Mallaiah said that the university should decide if he had forged certificates or was not qualified enough. “So if I am not qualified they will attack me? Will they instigate students to kill me, if I am not qualified?” he asked. “If I am not qualified, why have they not removed me from my post?” he added.
The university website itself states information contrary to professor Nayak’s claim. In fact, the website shows professor Nayak as having fewer number of years of teaching experience than Dr. Mallaiah.
Professor N M P Verma said that he was in a meeting when the incident happened and was not authorised to comment on these matters to the media. When asked about Dr. Malliah’s allegation that he was trying to jeaopardise his career by denying him promotion, professor Verma said that he had no power to do that.
However, Dr. Mallaiah said that this was not true as it was up to the Head of the Department to screen applications and send recommendations to the University Vice Chancellor (VC). The problem lay in the fact that if Dr. Mallaiah was promoted to the post of ‘Professor’ from the current post of ‘Associate Professor’, according to seniority rules, Dr. Mallaiah would become the Dean – a position that is now held by N M P Verma. “They don’t want to work under my Dean-ship. They cannot tolerate me as an associate professor, then how can they tolerate me as a professor?” Dr. Mallaiah asked. “This is not the way to work in a central university named after Ambedkar,” he added.
Both professor Nayak and professor Verma denied that they had helped Upadhyay hide for two hours before the police arrived. Professor Verma said that he had not seen the student in six months.
Ambedkar University Dalit Students’ Union (AUDSTU) has demanded the removal of these two professors from their posts. A representative of AUDSTU said that if the university refuses to take action against these professors by 4 p.m today (July 10, 2018), the students would go on hunger strike from tomorrow.