Dr. Neelam, an Associate Professor in the Hindi Department of Lakshmibai College at the University of Delhi has alleged that her colleague and teacher-in-charge Ranjit Kaur slapped her during a meeting and registered a complaint with the police and the principal against the same.
Dr. Neelam who comes from a Dalit community said that she was attacked because of her caste location. She also added that Kaur always had an issue with her caste.
The incident happened at the end of a departmental meeting that Dr. Neelam along with her other colleagues was attending on Monday. Towards the end of the meeting, Kaur wanted the attendees to sign the minutes of the meeting without reading them. However, Dr. Neelam insisted on reading the minutes before signing it but Kaur who appeared to be in a hurry to conclude the meeting slapped her, The Indian Express reported.
On Monday, the professor filed a complaint at the Bharat Nagar Police station and proceeded to submit a complaint about the incident with the college principal Pratyush Vatsala who allegedly refused to consider it initially but after pressure from professors and activists, she accepted it. Vatsala has denied allegations of not agreeing to accept the associate professor’s complaint.
Meanwhile, Kaur has filed a counter-complaint with the principal alleging that she was the one who was assaulted when she tried to take away the register from Dr. Neelam who insisted on reading the minutes of other meetings as well.
“During that tussle, it’s possible my hand could have hit her face. But it was not an intentional slap,” The Indian Express quoted Kaur.
It is important to note that Kaur’s complaint was submitted only after Dr. Neelam had taken up the incident with the police and the principal.
The matter raised with the college administration will be taken up in the upcoming Governing Body meeting, the Principal said.
Higher educational institutes in India have been questioned time and again for maintaining caste-based hierarchies and being spaces of manifestations of caste-based discrimination against students and teachers coming from marginalized caste communities.