Published: 23rd August 2018
Yale, Princeton academics condemn attack on prof whose post criticised Vajpayee
Academics, sociologists, professors and various activists have come together to demand action against the attackers and ask for safer campuses
It is now exactly a week since the brutal attack on Prof Sanjay Kumar from Mahatma Gandhi University, Motihari took place. After being admitted at the Patna Medical College Hospital initially, he was transferred to AIIMS when his condition deteriorated. He remains in the isolation ward and continues to slip into unconsciousness every now and then. His friends and family are still in the dark about the whereabouts of his attackers as the police have not informed them about any leads yet.
Even as the news about him has died down, the community of sociologists from across the country have come together to condemn the mob attack on Kumar. "As sociologists, social scientists and concerned individuals across the world, we strongly condemn the brutal mob assault on sociologist Sanjay Kumar. This particular trend of mob violence directed at dissenting voices in various university/college campuses of late has become 'normal'," a statement signed by 179 sociologists said.
No Freedom: The professor had criticised the former PM for some of his policies
The signees are from institutions like the University of Delhi, Delhi School of Economics, Indian Sociological Society, Princeton University, NYU, JNU, University of Hyderabad, Bombay University, Institute of Economic Growth, Social Anthropologists, St Xavier's College, Kolkata, Bedabrata Pain, an ex- NASA scientist, Yale University, TISS, HCU, University of Sydney, Minnesota, Bern, California, Jamia Millia Islamia, MS University, Tirunelveli, Azim Premji University, Jadavpur University and various other sociologists, journalists, filmmakers and activists have also signed the statement.
The professor was brutally attacked by a right-wing group for putting up critical comments about former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after the passing. The mob even poured kerosene on the professor with the intention of setting him on fire but let him go off after he promised to resign from his job.
Speaking about how teachers, specifically social science professors are being targeted these days, the sociologists said, "Teachers have been abused on account of their political opinions and social positions. In particular, because of the nature of the social sciences where we engage with contemporary society, social scientists have come under attack," the statement read.
Still recovering: The professor has not been able to communicate with anyone properly yet
The statement also pointed to the fact that many media reports had alleged the administration's compliance in the attack, "We unequivocally demand the effective intervention of the Government of Bihar to probe the dastardly act and provide all necessary legal and medical help to the victim."
The professor has been through various tests and is under constant observation, "We're waiting for the results. For now, we have no idea how bad the damage is," his colleague from the University said. "He only recently got married and has a baby who is just four months old. His father passed away long ago and his mother is in deep shock. The family has no idea what is happening and they are still coming to terms with what has happened," the professor added.
In their statement, the sociologists also appealed to campuses in the country to take more safety measures, "We appeal to all university teachers, students and citizens at large to ensure the safety and civility of our campuses and ensure there is space for open discussion."