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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

“We demand a speedy and fair probe, in which a member from outside West Bengal is present on the committee” — Dalits standing in support of Dr. Priyanka Das wrote a letter

“We, the undersigned – members of the Dalit, Adivasi, Lowercaste communities, and allies working against the Uppercasteist Hindu social order, unanimously stand in solidarity with Dr. Priyanka Das, a Dalit professor at Presidency University, Kolkata,” It was written in that letter in which the people of Dalit society Supported Dr. Priyanka Das.

Dr. Priyanka Das has been most unfairly harassed, intimidated, and criminalised in a case involving the ‘sexual harassment’ of a student in which she was not a party. Her name and reputation have been publicly maligned solely based on her association with the main accused in the complaint, Dr. Mahitosh Mandal, a Dalit professor in the same college.

Added to letter, “We categorically condemn the social shaming, social boycotting, and name-calling in filthy, upper casteist language against Dr. Das and Dr. Mandal. We see such extra-legal punishments as reminiscent of the unconstitutional practice of Untouchability. Such caste-based abuse shall not be tolerated.”

While an ICC has been instituted per the PoSH, 2013 Act, and its proceedings are ongoing; we would like to put forth the following two non-negotiable demands:

  • That the ICC be immediately reconstituted and reformulated under the chairmanship of a Dalit woman, preferably a Dalit woman from another University.
  • However, if the latter is not possible, then a senior female Dalit professor from the University be made head of this committee.
  • That the external member on the committee be a Dalit representative from outside Bengal, and the committee should constitute at least six members, out of which five should be from Dalit, Adivasi, and lower-caste backgrounds.

“Our demand for an external member from outside West Bengal is strictly based on the possibility of academic circles within West Bengal pressuring the parties and proceedings toward pre-meditated ends. In the interest of natural justice, we demand a speedy and fair probe which is only possible if a member from outside West Bengal is present on the committee,” Added to letter.

“With this letter, we would like to firmly state that law instituted inquiry must not be interfered with by announcing personal verdicts and quantum of punishments before the police and courts do it. We expect that proper due process is followed in this case, and all the proceedings are made available through the official website of the university/college, and not social media posts of student unions and other groups so that all the concerned parties can access the proceedings. Such a step is crucial to ensure that nobody is in an unfair position to twist the narrative against either of the parties.”

It is a sad state of affairs that the consent, prior knowledge, and approval of Dr. Das were not considered crucial before making her a party to a case, the facts of which she was unaware, especially in a matter involving alleged sexual harassment where these considerations are of utmost importance. We condemn that despite protestations, Dr. Das’s identity was not protected. A complete ignorance of her vulnerability as a Dalit woman and need of special protection was exhibited. Under such circumstances, we are forced to wonder if perhaps one awaits Dalit women to be victims of sexual crimes or institutional murders to merit social support and protection. We further condemn attempts at silencing her when she made her testimony on social media.

We hope that unlike lynch mobs and massacres, practices typical of the upper casteist mode of functioning, neither of the three parties should be victims of any such social ostracisation and humiliation.

In the end, we unequivocally extend our support and solidarity to Dr.Priyanka Das for courageously standing up for her dignity and credibility.


Ms. Radhika Vemula, Social Activist
Professor C. Lakshmanan, National Convener, Dalit Intellectual Collective, Chennai
Dr. Gogu Shyamala, Eminent Telugu writer
Professor Sujatha Surepally, Founder member, Dalit Women’s Collective, Hyderabad
Dr. Jilukara Srinivas, Founder President, Dravida Bahujana Samithi, Hyderabad
Dr. Siluveru Harinath, Research Associate, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad
Annapuneni Gandhi, senior journalist, publisher, translator of Marx and Engels’s works
Prof. Lisa Mitchell, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Krupkar Ponugoti, Founder General Secretary, Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MRPS), Hyderabad
Prof. Nivedita Menon, Professor, JNU, New Delhi.
Dr. Rekha Raj, Associate Professor, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
Professor V. Geetha, Independent Scholar and Writer, Chennai
Divya Jayshree, Journalist, New Delhi
Dr. Pramod Kumar Bagde, Associate Professor, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
Dr. Sumeet Mhaskar, Assistant Professor, O. P. Jindal Global
Dr. Shailaja Paik, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati, USA
Professor Ania Loomba, Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Chhaya Khobragade, Founder President, Sambuddh Mahila Sanghatana, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Malvika Raj, Dalit Artist and Fashion Designer
Dr. Rupali Bansode, Postdoc, UPenn
Cheshta Rajora, Writer, New Delhi
Sania Ismailee, PhD Student, IIT Delhi
Sunaina Arya, Research Fellow, JNU
Maya Pramod, Research Scholar and Writer
Keshav Waghmare, Social Activist and Writer
Dr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, PhD, JNU, Delhi
Dr. Prabodhan Pol, Assistant Professor, MAHE, Manipal, Manipal, Karnataka
Swathi Vadlamudi, Journalist, Hyderabad
Abir Dasgupta, Journalist, Bengaluru
Sukruta Alluri, PhD Scholar
Manjula Pradeep, Director of Campaigns, Director of Campaigns, Ahmedabad
Beena Johnson Pallical, General Secretary, NCDHR, Delhi
Dr. Richa Gupta, Assistant Professor, Manipal Academy Higher Education, Manipal
Cynthia Stephen, Independent journalist/ activist and writer, Bangalore
Grijesh Dinker, National programme officer, AIDMAM-NCDHR, New Dell
Chandra Sekhar, Assistant Professor, SRR & CVR Govt Degree College, Andhra Pradesh
Seema R B, Program Director, Agsh, Pune
Divya Rajagopal, Senior Journalist; Masters of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Toronto
Sunil Laxman Yadav, TISS Mumbai
Dr. N Chandra Bhanu Murthy, Assistant Professor, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat
Ravichandra Raut, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi
Amarjit Gurtro Hasangarh, Haryan School of Business(HSB), Guru Jambheshwar University of Science & Technology, Hisar Haryana
Bolleddu Harshavardhan, CS aspirant, Hyderabad
Niharika, Student, Delhi University, Delhi
Pradnya Bheke, Delhi
Murali Ramathoti, Doctoral Fellow, HCU, Hyderabad
Seshaiah Chemudugunta, Scholar, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
D Daya Aruna, Research Scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
Shaibal Das, Research Scholar, Kazi Nazrul University, Asansol
Pity Parker, Student, MA English Literature, The English and Foreign Languages University
Sandeep Baluvuri, COO, Interacto, Hyderabad
Sonali Meshram, Officer, HPCL, Mumbai
Pradip Manjule, Social Worker, Parbhani, Maharashtra
Sunil Neeradi, PhD Scholar, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Dr. Temaji Dongre, Principal, TSWRDC W Adilabad TS, Adilabad
C.S.V.Prasadraju, Convenor, Mitrasahiti, Visakhapatnam
Ramesh Babu Para, Assistant Professor, GITAM University, Hyderabad
Dr. Vinodh Ilangovanan, coordinator, Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology, Hannover, Germany
Rakesh Kumar, PhD Scholar, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
H Vageeshan, Assistant Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
M. Chittiyya, State convenor, AP, Swaero network, Vizag,
Navanitha Villari, Journalism student, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Dr. Neha A. PDF; IITB, Mumbai
Mr. Law, PhD Scholar, EFL University, Hyderabad
Amit Kumar, EastMojo, Journalist, Guwahati
Dr. Rajesh Kota, Guest Faculty, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Yashwant Zagade, Research Scholar, TISS,Mumbai
SATYA NELLI, PhD scholar, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Awinash Kumar, PhD Scholar, IIT Kanpur, Kanpur
Dr. Komal Rajak, Postdoctoral Research Associate, IISER Mohali, Mohali, Punjab
Job Varghese, Consultant, Jvls, Pune
Raja Vemula, Lawyer, Guntur
Chakri, Director, Samalochana, Vizag
Rama Sundari, Lecturer, Government, Guntur
Arunank latha, Independent, Lawyer, Hyderabad
David SA, Founder President, Osmania University Research Scholars, Hyderabad
Anjali Rai, Media and Communications Officer, NCDHR, New Delhi
Monalisa Barman, New York
Vinay Lautre, Doctoral Student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Dr. Chanchal Kumar, Assistant Professor, Vinoba Bhave University, Telaiya
Vasudevan N, Researcher, Technological University Dublin, Ireland
N S. Murty, Writer and Translator, Bangalore
K.Srinivas, Editor, Andhrajyothy Daily
Dr. V Rajesh, Associate Professor, IISER Mohali, Mohali
Shayju C, Independent Researcher, Kerala
Dr. Ponnam Muthyam, Research Scholar Osmania University
Pramod Sankaran, Manager, Qatar
Manchala Lingaswamy, Guest Faculty, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Venkataramana, Chess coach, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh
G. Ashok, PhD Research Scholar, University of Hyderabad
Harshali Nagrale, Masters Student, Royal Holloway University London, UK
Indivar Jonnalagadda, Doctoral Student, University of Pennsylvania
Maithili Madhusudanan, Design Researcher, Bauhaus, Germany
Nidhish Sundar, PhD Scholar, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nikita Sonavane, Co-founder, Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project, Bhopal
Dadasaheb Tandale, PhD Candidate, UMASS Boston, Boston
Meena Kotwal, Founding Editor, The Mooknayak, Delhi
Rahul Sonpimple, Research scholar, BAPSA, JNU, New Delhi
J. Balasubramaniam, Assistant Professor, Dept Of Journalism, Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai
Premram M R, Assistant Professor, B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science & Technology, Chennai
Dr. Anupam Alone, Guest Faculty, Andaman College ANCOL, Port Blair, A & N Islands
Radha M. N., Assistant Professor, Rani Channamma University Belagavi, Bangalore
Chandramani Raj, Founder, MD, MuskMigi pvt ltd, Patna
Premsai, PhD student, IITB, Mumbai
Dr. Davesh Soneji, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Dr. Chandramouli, Associate Professor, University of Mysore, Mysuru
Gurrapu Naveen, PhD student, IIT Bombay, Mumbai
Dr. B Karthik Navayan, Advocate, High court of Telangana, Hyderabad
Bhagyashri Boywad, Independent Research Scholar, Nanded
Dr. Smita Patil, Assistant Professor, IGNOU, Delhi
Professor Bhangya Bhukya, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
Professor Rohan D’Souza, Professor, Kyoto University (Japan), Japan
Dr. Jayaseelan Raj, Faculty, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
Karthick V, Research Manager, MIDS, Chennai
Devarapalli Manju, Hyderabad

This article is a press release.

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The Mooknayak is dedicated to Marginalised and unprivileged people of India. It works on the principle of Dr. Ambedkar and Constitution.

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