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Delhi: Suspension of 4 Faculty Members of SAU 'Completely Undemocratic': CPI

CPI MP Binoy Viswam has written to the Foreign Affair Minister, flagging violation of “all rules and norms”.

Image Courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar over the suspension of four faculty members of the South Asian University (SAU), alleging that the move was "completely undemocratic" and in violation of all rules and norms.

The faculty members faced the action in mid-June over allegations of misconduct and violation of the university's code of conduct following the 2022 student protests against the downward revision of monthly stipends for Master's students

"I write this letter to express my anguish at the suspension of four faculty members of the South Asian University in a completely undemocratic manner violating all rules and norms of procedure," Viswam said.

In the letter, the Rajya Sabha member alleged that the "authoritarian stance" of the administration has tarnished the image of the university formed with the high ideals of integrating neighbouring SAARC countries.

"The four faculty members were suspended on the charges of inciting students against the SAU administration during the students’ protest over slashing the monthly stipend significantly," he said.

He claimed the faculty members were only trying to mediate between the aggrieved students and the "obtuse SAU administration in the interest of pedagogy at the university".

"Their expression of concern through a letter signed by 15 faculty members after the expulsion, rustication and suspension of five students was completely under democratic limits and was deliberately misinterpreted by the administration as ‘incitement’," he said.

Displaying such "intolerance for constructive criticism is unbecoming of a university" intended to inculcate dialogue among neighbours and minimise divisions, it said.

Viswam had earlier written to the minister about the treatment meted out to SAU students last year.

"I urge you to prevail upon the SAU administration to revoke this authoritarian decree and make efforts through SAARC to address the multiple concerns plaguing SAU.

"The conduct of SAU administration is undignified as a host, at a time when India is hosting the G20 summit," he said.

A faculty member had earlier said: "Office orders were issued placing the four faculty members under suspension with immediate effect on June 16, given that 'there are allegations of misconduct' and violation of the code of conduct of the University, 'which need to be investigated'."

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