Chandigarh, August 22
Even as the clamour for academic independence grows on Ashoka University in Sonepat, personnel claiming to be from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) visited the campus and met the teaching staff today, ahead of the pen-down strike announced by the faculty.
Sources in the university claimed that the team comprised two-three members and their aim was to ascertain whether the now-controversial research paper “Democratic Backsliding in the World’s Largest Democracy” by Dr Sabyasachi Das, an assistant professor, was his stand-alone effort or written keeping the university management in the loop.
Sources maintained that the team, which visited the campus yesterday as well, interacted with the faculty of the Economics Department, of which Das was a part before his resignation was accepted.
Sources added that the team met a few students who were available on the campus and asked them about the teaching methods adopted by Das while he was part of the faculty.
Though the university sources claimed that it was an IB team, The Tribune could not independently verify whether it was indeed an IB team that visited the campus and made these enquiries.
It may be recalled that Das resigned from the faculty earlier this month. After his resignation was accepted, another senior faculty member of the Economics Department, Prof Pulapre Balakrishnan, also submitted his resignation in solidarity with him. However, Balakrishnan’s resignation is yet to be accepted.
Meanwhile, Aswini Deshpande, Professor of Economics and Founding Director of the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis (CEDA) at the university, uploaded an open letter to the Governing Body of the university on the official handle of the university’s Economic Department.
Meanwhile, the faculty demanded that the university must reaffirm its commitment to academic freedom, unconditionally offer back Das his position and affirm that the Governing Body will play no role in evaluating faculty research through any committee or any other structure. They had given the management time until tomorrow (August 23) to meet their demands.
The students also came out in support of the faculty members and demanded the formation of an investigation committee to thoroughly probe the ‘violation’ of academic freedom regarding Das’ paper.
By sending the IB after an academic in a premier private university, the Modi government is only proving the point about murder of democracy in India. This is truly unprecedented. — Jairam Ramesh, Cong general secretary
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira arrested from his Chandigarh house; sent to 2-day police remand
No vendetta politics, says AAP
Goldy Brar is hiding in California, sought asylum in US to evade Indian authorities, reveals new dossier
According to the dossier, Brar arrived in Canada on August 1...
Nijjar, chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force, was shot dead by...
The celebrated agriculture icon was being treated for age-re...