Freedom Under Fire: HCU Professor Resigns to Protest Pro-VC Appointment; CBI Makes First Arrest in Dabholkar Murder

A round-up of news, both bad and good, on the rights front from India.

University of Hyderabad: Dalit professor resigns to protest appointment of pro-VC

A senior Dalit faculty member at University of Hyderabad has resigned as head of Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy to protest against the appointment of Vipin Srivastava as the university’s pro-vice chancellor.

Srivastava was chairman of the committee that recommended punishment for five Dalit research scholars, including Rohith Vemula.

In his resignation leader, Sreepati Ramudu wrote: “…When Prof Vipin Srivastava was instated as interim Vice-Chancellor earlier, SC/ST Teachers’ Forum opposed it because Prof Vipin Srivastava was allegedly responsible for the tragic death of yet another Dalit research scholar Senthil Kumar in 2008. … I am pained by the constant humiliation and oppression that is meted out to the Dalit community in the university…I am pained and my conscience does not permit (me ) to continue as the Head of the Centre at a time when the Dalit community on campus lacks the confidence in the administration that should ideally be impartial”.

CBI makes first arrest in Dabholkar murder case

The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday made its first arrest for the murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, The Hindu reported. Virendra Tawde, a member of the Sanatan Sanstha, had emerged as a prime suspect in the CBI investigation into Dabholkar’s murder.

Dabholkar was shot dead by unidentified assailants on the morning of August 20, 2013 while on a morning walk near the Omkareshwar temple in Pune.

Haryana education department bars school teachers from wearing jeans to work, CM denies move

In an order issued by the Haryana education department last week, elementary and middle school teachers have been asked not to wear jeans to work or while visiting the directorate in Chandigarh, Hindustan Times reported.

While the four-line order said wearing jeans to work was not appropriate and teachers should wear formal clothes, no specific reasons were provided for this rule. However, top education department officials defended the order, saying teachers were regarded as role models for students and should be dressed appropriately.

“Teachers ask students to maintain discipline, including wearing school uniforms. They themselves should wear formal attire to set an example,” said an education official.

Meanwhile, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday denied that his government had issued any such directive to school teachers in the state. “No, there is no such order that has been issued by the state government. And, if someone has said anything like this, then we take it back, but no such thing has happened,” Khattar said.

Crimes against children up in Kerala

According to a report in The Hindu, crimes against children, particularly sexual offences, have increased considerably in Kerala in the last three years. This is despite the stringent special laws enacted to protect children in 2012, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

State police records show that 2,373 cases were registered for crimes against children in 2015, including 711 rapes, 160 abductions and 36 murders. The figures showed a startling jump from the number of crimes against children in the previous years.

Teacher brands eight students with burning camphor

A teacher in a government primary school at Pali in Ulundurpet, Tamil Nadu, punished eight children studying in classes IV and V for being inattentive in the class on Thursday by placing burning camphor on their feet, a report in The Hindu says.

The incident came to light on Friday after parents of the affected children raised slogans in front of the school. They urged the school authorities to take stern action against the teacher involved. Chief educational officer S. Mars has suspended the teacher and the school headmaster, and opened an investigation.

Do you know of any other incident we should highlight in this column? Write to me at jahnavi@thewire.in.

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