Published: 11th September 2020
JU prof Maroona Murmu files police complaint under SC/ST Act after facing casteist remarks by student on FB
Numerous academicians, scholars, students from around the world have come in support of Dr Murmu and filed a petition to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes seeking action
After Dr Maroona Murmu, an associate professor from Kolkata's Jadavpur University, had to face casteist remarks on social media by a student of another institution, she has now written to the officer in charge at Jadavpur Police Station and lodged a formal complaint against the student under the SC/ST atrocities prevention act. "I have submitted an appeal to the police to take up the matter. It is up to the administration to take legal action. I wrote the entire chronology of events in an email, the incessant trolling I had to face on Facebook since September 2 after the unknown student commented on my Adivasi heritage and told me in different ways how I was not qualified to be a teacher or comment on the conduct of examinations given my background," Dr Murmu told us.
The complaint to the police station was submitted early on Thursday, she said that the authorities have received it and that they should do what they deem fit in this matter. The exchange of comments between Murmu and the student had taken place on September 2 when most people in the country were debating the central government’s decision to conduct exams despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Murmu wrote about whether exams should be held during the COVID-19 crisis this year or not and how students' lives are being put at risk. "A year's loss is not worth sacrificing your entire life," her post had said. Responding to this, in the comments section, the Bethune College student had written, "It's not about losing one year but about how some unqualified people are taking undue advantage of the reservation system and their caste is now helping them be successful rendering the others jobless. Our parents are stepping out, taking a risk every day, while you are sitting at home and getting paid for doing nothing. I ask you this as a student."
Since then the professor had been trolled on social media for her comment on examinations with numerous netizens who supported the student's take on the issue. However, Dr Murmu has received immense support from academicians and students from across the globe. "I remain indebted to all scholars, friends, civil society individuals who have come forward to show solidarity. Some of these scholars have been mentors. My deepest regards to you all," Dr Murmu had written on Facebook.
Professor Romila Thapar, writer and historian, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Professor of Humanities, Syracuse University, Satya P Mohanty, Professor of English, Cornell University, Ayesha Kidwai, Professor of Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University and hundreds of other academicians, scholars and students from around the world have filed a petition to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes seeking an investigation into the matter and a direct and strict implementation of the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
"Our casteist society does not sensitise its young members of the long history of violence against Adivasis, Dalits, and Bahujans and the need for affirmative action for the purpose of representation which has been previously stolen from them. Plenty like this student abound in our society and if someone as illustrious as Dr Murmu can fall prey to such violence, it chills us to think of what the average Adivasi student must go through in academic spaces. Keeping in mind all those Adivasi students, academics and staff who struggle every day, we request the Honorable Commission for Scheduled Tribes to take prompt action." wrote the petitioners.