A law college in Goa’s capital Panaji has refused to sack one of its professors after the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students’ body of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, complained to the authorities about her teaching being “anti-religious”, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
In a letter to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the college said that the student body has “no locus standi” to make such demands.
“This is a law college. We have the responsibility to ensure that we follow rules,” Shabir Ali, principal of Panaji’s VM Salgaocar College of Law, told the newspaper. “Legally too, it is not possible to accept their representation.”
Last month, the ABVP’s Konkan unit Joint Secretary Prabha Naik had written to the the college, claiming that Shilpa Singh, an assistant professor of political science, “promotes socially hateful thoughts about a particular religion, community and group of people”. Naik asked the college to take action “within 24 hours”, failing which it would be “forced to start a severe agitation against the institution” and approach the police.
While the college wrote to the students’ body saying that it was not possible to meet the demands, the internal grievance committee took note of the complaint and asked Singh to respond. In her reply, Singh said that she felt “threatened and alarmed at this insistence of intimidation” and that the complaint demanding the termination of her job was an “assault” on her right to livelihood.
Teachings on Manusmriti, Rohith Vemula etc
Speaking to The Indian Express after the complaint was lodged against her, Shilpa Singh said that the ABVP members had verbally conveyed to that they had problems with some of her lessons.
“I was informed that they had issues with my teachings of Manusmriti and were not comfortable bringing Rohith Vemula, MM Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar, rationalists and activists who were murdered into my teachings,” Singh said. “They also had issues with a response to a particular query on beef that I seem to have shared.”
Singh said she was teaching students of First Year LLB through an online platform and had begun with a chapter on nature, scope and significance of political theory. She said the trouble began when she started lectures explaining “perspective on power” and used reading materials of DD Kosambi, Devi Prasad Chattopadhyay and other scholars to explain Manusmriti’s views on women.
Following this, she started receiving text messages on “her views on NRC and CAA”, which she did not respond to. However, a clip from one of her online classes of her giving examples related to liberalism and Marxism in the context of the recent farm bill debate got leaked and was cited as evidence in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s complaint.
The grievance committee of the college also took exception of the fact that the recording was taken without the teacher’s consent and that the complaint was filed not by a student but by Naik, who is an outsider.
Meanwhile, Singh has asked for police protection after a complaint has been made against her by a Ponda resident, alleging that she is spreading communal hatred, according to The Indian Express.