news Thursday, April 09, 2015 - 05:30

Does Kerala still show traces of its conventional behaviour of conservative caste discrimination practices? Does the Dalit community face similar difficulties in the office environment as much as it does by societal norms? The story of Deepa M Mohan from Kannur district, pursuing her Ph.D in the International and Inter University Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at M G University Kottayam, is one of such caste discrimination.It all started when Deepa was denied access to the university laboratory and other facilities. Deepa says she was subjected to mental torture by the centre’s joint director Nandakumar Kalarickal, only because she belongs to a Dalit community.“Even after frequent requests, the centre was not ready to provide me with materials like polymer which was necessary for my research; all my batch mates had received it, later whenever I entered the lab, Nandakumar sir would ask me to leave without any reason. In the beginning I did not understand the reason behind the discrimination,” Deepa told The News Minute.Later, she was denied a place to sit in the university. While her batch mates got a chair and table, she was asked to stand, “I had no place to sit, when I found a chair for myself outside the lab, he asked me to move and they removed the chair,” she says.Though she managed to borrow some polymer from her friends Nandakumar’s torture did not allow her to move on with the research.“I did my presentation with borrowed polymer, while presenting, he insulted me in public, all the authorities and students were there, he said I plagiarized my material,” she alleged.“I had a horrible experience once. While I am inside the lab, he entered the room suddenly and asked me to come out. When I came out, he locked my belongings in the lab. Crying, I went to the washroom. He then locked me inside the building and left. I was forced to call the police,” she recalls.It was then that Deepa decided to complain to higher authorities.It was then that the caste angle emerged. “I had complained to Pro Vice Chancellor Sheena Shukkoor, when she enquired about it, Nandakumar sir replied that Dalit students should not be encouraged. He claimed he did not want discipline to be lost. Then I realized, the fault lay in my caste,” she wept.Even after frequent complaints there were no results and she was forced to approach Human Rights Commission and Women Commission for Justice.However on Wednesday, MG University Vice Chancellor Babu Sebastian had told media that there is truth in Deepa’s complaint and the University authorities will look in to it.“Even after so many complaints I am not allowed to do my work,” she said. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

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