Published: 22nd July 2019
Fear I will be made to disappear like Najeeb: Muslim JNU prof complains of harassment, discrimination
The assistant professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy has written to the DMC claiming that she is being harassed and discriminated against since she is Muslim
The Delhi Minorities Commission has directed the JNU registrar to file a response to allegations that the administration is harassing a professor for her Muslim identity. Rosina Nasir has worked in JNU since 2013 and has alleged that the administration is forcing her to leave her job by refusing to pay her salary. According to her, the harassment is such that Nasir says she is scared she might also 'disappear like Najeeb'.
Nasir, an assistant professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, has written to Zafarul Islam Khan of the DMC claiming that she is being harassed and discriminated against because she is a Muslim. Nasir was employed at JNU as a tenurial faculty member under the UGC grant-in-scheme. She was previously working as a permanent faculty member in Hyderabad Central University and moved to Delhi for the opportunity, "I was promised a permanent position by the panel, so I believed them. They said it would take some time but my position would be made permanent," Nasir said.
Nasir has worked at JNU for six and a half years but stopped receiving her salary from October 2017 onwards. This was despite the fact that the CSSEIP scheme by the UGC was extended. "However, I continued to teach and supervise MPhil and PhD students. Restriction on salary release was arbitrary and was an attempt to force me to quit the position and find another job for my survival. In fact, the Vice-Chancellor and Rector-I (Prof Chintamani) had communicated the same views to me many a time during my frequent visits for salary release," she said.
After receiving absolutely no response from the management, Nasir was forced to take the case to court in November 2018. She managed to win and the administration was directed to release the professor's salary and she was paid up to March 31. Now again, since April she is not being given a salary, "Now they have also started sending me notices to vacate the house in JNU," Nasir said. The professor is a warden on campus and lives with her three-year-old child and husband. Losing her home and not having an income has put Nasir's life in jeopardy. "I was called up by the VC for interaction and was asked to vacate in a month but on little resistance, the VC said that I would be informed. After that, I have not received any communication from any of the offices in this regard," said the professor.
"Every 13-14 days they are sending a reminder to me, it shows abhorrence towards an educated Muslim woman. I replied to all letters in this regard and showed intent to vacate and sought time. Instead of empathy, I am being threatened through messages to the effect that they will forcefully make me vacate by using the police. But during my stay before and after the termination of wardenship I had not been receiving salary for 18 months by JNU on the flimsy ground of paucity of funds, their main purpose was to harass and panic me," she said.
Nasir also filed a complaint with the ICC against the Centre Chairperson Prof Chinna Rao. "Since 2017, the Centre Chairperson has been excluding me from a weekly official faculty meeting, I am debarred from information and notification circulated by the Centre which is an everyday activity of the Centre. I have written about this umpteen number of times to the Dean, Rector -I and the Vice-Chancellor but everything was in vain," she said.
Nasir says that she is not considered a faculty member and her name is not recorded for the faculty meeting. "Institutional isolation and injustice have become the new normal for me," she added. However, the punishment was mild, Nasir complained, "The committee requested the university authorities to nominate the defendant to attend a workshop on gender awareness and sensitivity. But his attendance at the workshop was never reported to me."
After this verdict of ICC, Nasir said that she has been continuously harassed by the professor she complained against, "Prof. Chinna has shamelessly harassed me in various capacities with no fear of any authority as the VC is in his corner and he has been shaping the work environment into hell for me. All these are so humiliating and frustrating, so I have been thinking of suicide for this institutional persistent torture and harassment at the workplace by the most powerful in the University and at the Centre."
"I am under constant threat. To be an educated Muslim woman is not a crime. It seems to me if I will not quit the faculty position in the CSSEIP, I will be made disappear like Najeeb," Nasir said.
The DMC has stated in its letter that they believe there is enough prima facie to find Nasir's claim is credible. Nasir said that the JNUTA is also supporting her but there is little they can actually do.
Nasir is particularly affected by the fact that she's losing all her students and is not allowed to teach, "In view of the vindictive order, I was denied the key to access the class-cum-committee room by the Centre Chairperson Prof Chinna Rao, services like telephone, official internet connection, official email id, and my webpage profile were declined and blocked. I was not allowed to teach students and students were discouraged to get enrolled in my offered course. It is humiliating and stretching to its maximum limit," the professor wrote in her letter.