As caste-related discrimination is discussed in the wake of Rohith Vemula’s suicide, a Dalit research scholar in from Kerala has some hard questions for the Students’ Federation of India’s position on both Left politics and a pro-Dalit stance.
On January 20, Deepa M Mohanan of Kannur district put up a list of questions on her Facebook wall.
Deepa, who is pursuing a PhD at the International and Inter University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at MG University in Kottayam, had alleged last year that she was subjected to mental torture by the centre’s joint director Nandakumar Kalarickal, because she is a Dalit.
She alleged that she was not given equal access to lab equipment or material and also that she was abused verbally several times by a particular professor.
In her Facebook post, she had a set of questions for V Sivadasan, All India president of the Students Federation of India (SFI), who has written about Rohith Vemula’s suicide in newspapers.
Deepa's questions ranged from "Why didn’t you bother to issue even a statement when I was subjected to atrocity and caste-based discrimination at the university?" to "Should the SFI be protecting the professor who called me a thief and did not give me a permanent seat, just because he is a member of a pro-Left organisation?"
Deepa also asked "If the SFI would raise its voice against the delay in action by the university, even though the inquiry commission had submitted its report long back."
Speaking to The News Minute, Deepa said: “Now they shout for justice for Rohith Vemula. I completely agree and support it because I know very well how it is to get betrayed just because of your caste.”
She said that when she faced discrimination, she had to fight alone. “I did not get any support from these parties who now shout against casteism. I was left alone to fight against casteism. Not a single local member of SFI extended support. They kept quiet as if nothing was happening. That’s why I asked these questions and I have not got any answers. Even our college leaders are not bothered about it. They only respond if political gains are to be made.”
However, Sivadasan alleged that there is more to the incident than meets the eye. “I did enquire and what I was told is that the SFI did intervene initially. But, it seems Deepa's version of the truth is not the entire truth. The SFI has no allegiance to any college, university or professor. We have fought for many students, even in MG university,” he told The News Minute.
Asked about answers to Deepa’s seven questions, Sivadasan said: “Another MG University student and SFI activist has posted the answers, look for that please.”