Motihari Uni VC Shielding My Attacker, Welcoming Him With Flowers, Says the Attacked Professor
On August 17, in Bihar’s Motihari, a mob of around 20 almost lynched Sanjay Kumar, assistant professor of sociology and social anthropology at the Mahatma Gandhi Central University (MGCU). The mob severely beat him up, and was about to burn him alive, when his friends and the police managed to save him just in the nick of time. The incident sent shockwaves through the teaching community, which demanded complete accountability from those who had instigated the mob attack.
However, no action has been taken by the university VC Arvind Agarwal, who is accused by many to have orchestrated the attack on Kumar. Now, in a move that is bound to invite severe criticism, and is being seen as yet another move to intimidate critics, Agarwal has granted admission to Diwakar Kumar Singh – the man accused of leading the attack on Kumar, in the Masters in Social Work course – at the university. The VC is being accused of bypassing and violating all established norms and procedures for granting this admission. Not only did Agarwal blatantly ignore the merit list in which Singh’s name was at no. 23 on the waiting list, he also ensured that both the counselling and the admission process were completed on a Sunday, a holiday.
While the assailants defended their act by claiming that Kumar was punished, as he dared to make an allegedly “derogatory remark” about deceased former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on social media, Kumar has alleged that the attack was orchestrated by the VC and the varsity management to suppress protracted agitation of teachers and students against the varsity management and its corrupt acts.
Chairman of university teachers’ union, Pramod Mina, said that the person involved in the attack on the professor was admitted in a course in the university only to intimidate students and teacher agitating against the VC and the varsity management. In a letter sent to Ministry of Human Resources Development, Mina alleged that at the time of attack on Sanjay Kumar, the teachers’ union had accused the VC of being hand and in glove with the assailants, and the recent development such as admission of this culprit, and his unprecedented welcome by the VC substantiate claims of an intimate relation between the VC and the assailants.
He was reportedly welcomed with flowers and garlands by Agarwal, who hailed him as a hero and a role model for the student community! Singh was arrested shortly after the attack, and spent five days in judicial custody before being granted bail by a local court. But he is undeterred. Immediately after securing admission and being accorded the grand welcome, he has threatened agitating teachers and students on social media.
Newsclick met up with Sanjay Kumar, who is recuperating from the trauma and physical injuries at an undisclosed location, battling a vicious social media threat brigade. He had had to secure police protection as per the order of the Delhi High Court on September 29. He has three personnel of the Delhi Police guard him whenever he is stepping out of the house, because the threats on social media and phone have not abated even when he is no longer in Bihar, and is undergoing treatment in Delhi.
The pain in his genitalia which the mob had attacked with iron rods and assorted weapons, refuses to go away. He wakes up in cold sweat, and is reeling from recurring nightmares. The doctors at AIIMS, who are treating him, have given him yet another dose of medication, but have ruled out his returning to the university for the sake of his own mental sanity.
Allegations galore against VC
Kumar went on to detail the long list of allegations and complaints against VC Arvind Agarwal, who, he said, has unleashed a “reign of corruption and victimisation” at the university.
The teachers of MGCU are being constantly tortured by the VC and his close associates since the day of their appointment. The teachers had started a peaceful protest on May 29, 2018, against various gross administrative irregularities of the VC, and had even started an ‘On Duty Without Food’ relay fast on June 4, 2018, which was communicated to the district administration and the university administration. Even though on fast, the teachers discharged their duties with utmost diligence. In July 2018, the case of fraudulent degree of Agrawal in his application for the post of VC came to light through an RTI reply from MHRD.
“In order to dissuade the media from his forged qualification, the VC has taken recourse to violent means, and has perpetrated a dastardly attack on me by goons enjoying his patronage. Not even students, who were attacked while the security guards looked on, were spared. On September 13, a student, Shakti Babu, was assaulted by a mob of 10-15 goons at the very gate of the university for his association with the protest. How could this happen without the VC’s active connivance?” questioned Kumar.
The very appointment of Agrawal as the VC of MGCU is found to be fraudulent. His application for the post of VC submitted to the deputy secretary, Higher Education Department, MHRD, has been acquired through an RTI reply, where the VC has been found blatantly fabricating and misrepresenting his academic qualification. In his application (File No 51—1/2015 – Desk U), on page no 107, he has claimed that he has completed his PhD from Heidelberg University, Germany, in 1989 with the title “Max Weber and Modern Sociological Theories”, while Agrawal has actually obtained his degree from University of Rajasthan in 1992 with the same title as, is evident from his PhD dissertation.
In his nameplate and the university prospectus, the VC has been advertising his post-graduation viz. MA and M Phil from JNU. It’s an irony that a VC who has been especially harsh to the faculty from JNU is seen brandishing his association with this prestigious institution, while he actually obtained his MA from University in Rajasthan and M Phil in JNU, according to Kumar.
He added, “Not only a fraudulent degree, but the VC has also been repeatedly making casteist and sexist remarks against students and female faculty members. Those who complained have been threatened by his henchmen with acid attacks, and have also been slandered on social media. The National Commission of Women is seized of a complaint lodged by four female faculty members, but no action has been taken so far.”
Agarwal has created an atmosphere of terror through show-cause notices for trivial reasons. Prior to attack on Sanjay Kumar, Dr Buddhi Prakash Jain had been issued a ‘show cause’ notice for applying for a job elsewhere. Another professor Atul Tripathi had been issued a ‘show cause’ notice for wearing jeans.
“In order to perpetuate atmosphere of fear, the university terminated two assistant professors namely Dr Shashikant Ray and Dr Amit Ranjan a day prior to the completion of their probation without assigning any reason whatsoever. These two teachers were reinstated in 15 days due to insufficient reason of their termination,” alleged Kumar.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar’s deputy chief minister, accused him of faking his injuries in order to gain the sympathy of the left liberals. Radha Mohan Singh, minister for agriculture and a member of the Nitish Kumar government’s Cabinet, also jumped into the fray, and blamed Kumar for writing derogatory comments against former PM Vajpayee, and justified the attack.
Although the entire lynching attempt had been captured in a video, and the video had gone viral, the police arrested only one person, and let the others go scot free, rued Kumar.
Shortly after Diwakar was granted admission, in a press statement issued on October 15, 2018, by the Mahatma Gandhi Central University Teachers’ Union, the professors have categorically depicted the dismal state of affairs in the campus. The statement is as follows:
“The corrupt vice-chancellor and his associates accomplished yet another conspiracy by giving admission to one of the accused of the mob-attack on Mr Sanjay Kumar, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology of Mahatma Gandhi Central University, Motihari, Bihar on 17-Aug-2018 (FIR No 582/18, dated 17-08-2018). The accused Diwakar Kumar Singh was granted admission in a post-graduate course, MSW, even after being in waiting list no. 23. The admission to such a criminal is given to silence the voice of the faculty and students who are protesting against the fraudulent employment of the VC through fake qualifications. Granted admission, Mr Singh also posted a threatening message in Facebook against the teachers. A video in social media is also available in which he is seen threatening the teachers protesting against the VC on 17 July, 2018 at the university gate. The VC himself was determined to give admission to him as he was personally present during the admission on Sunday and let him be welcomed by flowers. The VC, Dr Arvind Kumar Agrawal, and the president of the Admission Committee, Dr Pavnesh Kumar, also accused in the same FIR, granted admission despite knowledge of the same. It is noteworthy here that Mr Diwakar needs to produce a character certificate for his admission. Can the accused, who is on anticipatory bail in the attack on a teacher of Mahatma Gandhi Central University, be given admission without submission of the character certificate? The VC is personally seen in many photos along with Mr Singh, viral through social media before and after 17 August. Amidst this criminal conspiracy, we, the teachers of MGCU, are really worried about our safety and appeal to the concerned competent authorities, media and civil society for our protection.”
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