CASTEISM IN ACADEMIA: DEEPA MOHANAN ENDS HUNGER STRIKE AFTER ALL DEMANDS MET

Deepa Mohanan, the Dalit PhD scholar who was on an indefinite hunger strike in Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam has ended her protest as all her demands have been met. On November 8th, her fight came to an end as the Director of her Centre Nandakumar Kalarickal was removed from his post following the Higher Education Minister expressing solidarity with Deepa. She claimed that her PhD was delayed due to casteist harassment and alienation by the professor and started her protest from the Mahatma Gandhi University gates on October 29th. 

 

“All materials needed for the research will be provided at the right time. Dr EK Radhakrishnan, Dr Sabu Thomas will be the main and second guides. Dr Beena Mathew will also be included. All facilities will be arranged to allow the fellowship, which had been stalled. A monitoring committee will be formed including my mother and brother. 24-03-2020 onwards the research period will be extended for four years,” she said. She thanked the Bhim Army which is led by Robin Jobe and various other Dalit organisations and activists that joined her fight for justice. She confirmed that no action will be taken for protesting and added “No fees will be taken for extension of the research period…. If there is no obstacle, I will finish my research in four years”.

 

Deepa (36) said that Nandakumar, who was the Director at the Inter University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (IIUCNN), stopped her from accessing the lab and chemicals needed at the lab, she claimed that the professor denied her seating at the workplace and even worked to end her stipend. She also claims the director once locked her alone in the lab. Deepa says the professor has targeted her because of her caste identity and has been working towards getting her PhD for the last ten years. She claims that the left in Kerala has protected the director in all cases and even alleged that former Health Minister K K Shailaja called her to withdraw her complaint. Nandakumar has decided to go to court contesting his removal. 

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