'Stop Victimization Of Prof Nivedita Menon': Academics Write To President Of India
A petition signed by more than 1800 academics, artists, lawyers, journalists, and civil rights activists from around the world has been sent to President of India, Ram Nath Kovind demanding to stop the to stop the victimization of Professor Nivedita Menon of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The petition, is also accompanied by a letter under signed by Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot professor of comparative literature, in University of Berkeley, California and Partha Chatterjee, professor of anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies Columbia University, New York), has been submitted to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The petition has been signed by academics from globally-reputed universities such as Harvard and Columbia, artistes and lawyers among others.
Prof Butler and Prof Chatterjee said in their letter that, they are concerned about the way Professor Menon has had to face repeated attacks from the university administration on her basic right to hold an opinion.
"We therefore request you to use your good offices to immediately intervene in the matter and restore the atmosphere of healthy debate for which JNU has been recognized in the entire academic world," they said in the letter.
According to the petition - which was first send to JNU Vice Chancellor and later forwarded to the President of India who is also the JNU Visitor -, professor Menon has just been removed as chairperson of her Centre, three months prior to the official end of her term.
"Most surprisingly", the petition added that, "this has been done without informing her of any reason for this decision or even giving her the opportunity to explain her position, as is the convention. This shameful victimization of Professor Menon appears to have been triggered by her dissent on the procedural lapses in the constitution of selection committees to appoint new faculty, something she was morally and duty bound to do so".
The petition also alleged that, in contravention of JNU's statutes and to influence the selection process, the Vice Chancellor has been adding committee members from outside the list of academic experts provided by the various Schools and Centres and this is what Professor Menon objected to.
"Her sudden removal as Chair of her Centre is an attack on the intellectual and moral freedom to dissent on ideas, procedures, and values," the petition said.
The petition appealed to JNU authorities 'to withdraw the specious charges against Professor Menon and stop this cycle of repeated attacks on her democratic rights'. It also demanded to withdraw the baseless enquiry set up against her.
It demanded to reinstate Prof. Menon immediately as chairperson of her Centre and allowed to perform her duties until the end of her term in December.
(With Inputs from PTI)
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