Newly-appointed JNU V-C’s old derogatory tweets go viral, account deactivated

Screenshots of her tweets were circulated on social media after her appointment. In one tweet from 2019, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit praised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
Newly-appointed JNU V-C’s old derogatory tweets go viral, account deactivated
Newly-appointed JNU V-C’s old derogatory tweets go viral, account deactivated
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The Ministry of Education on Monday, February 7, appointed Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, as Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) first female Vice-Chancellor (V-C). She is currently a political science professor at the Savitribai Phule University in Maharashtra. However, shortly after the announcement, Santishree’s old tweets were shared on Twitter and most of them contained derogatory comments about religious minorities in India. 

In multiple tweets, screenshots of which were circulated on social media, Santishree refers to Muslims as ‘Jihadis’ and called Christians ‘rice bag converts’ — both derogatory terms. In other tweets, she also praised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and praised Nathuram Godse.

Soon, the screenshots went viral and she began to receive widespread condemnation. In another tweet, she also referred to JNU students as ‘losers’ and ‘Naxal groups.’ By Monday evening, her Twitter account was deactivated. 

59-year-old Pandit is herself an alumna of JNU where she pursued her MPhil as well as PhD in International Relations. Pandit began her teaching career at Goa University in 1988 and moved to Pune University in 1993. She has held administrative positions in various academic bodies. She has also been a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the Visitor's nominee to central universities. In her career, she has guided 29 PhD candidates.

Santishree is the second female Vice-Chancellor of a central university in Delhi selected by the Education Ministry after Professor Najma Akhtar of Jamia Millia Islamia.

M Jagadesh Kumar, who was holding the charge of acting VC at JNU after his five-year term ended last year, was last week appointed as the chairman of the UGC. 

Handing over the charge to Pandit, the outgoing VC and Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC), Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, said: "I am happy to inform that Professor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, from the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Savitribai Phule Pune University, has been appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor of JNU. She is the first female vice-chancellor of the university. I wish her success in her new role."

Neither Santishree nor JNU have commented since the tweets were made public. 

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