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Stop vicious campaign against Dr Rajshri Ranawat, revoke her suspension

Counterview Desk
A signature campaign has taken place against the suspension of Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. Text of the statement on which signatures have been sought:
It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashri Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jay Narayan Vyas University, has been suspended by her university for having disobeyed the orders of the university.
The suspension letter does not mention which orders she has not obeyed. It can therefore be concluded that Dr. Ranwat has been punished for having invited Prof. Nivedita Menon as a speaker in an academic conference which had academics and civil society workers from different disciplinary and ideological backgrounds participating in it.
The conference was very successful with students and teachers interacting with scholars in a free atmosphere. After its conclusion, a nasty campaign was launched by some newspapers with the help of the ABVP that Prof Ranawat as organiser had provided platform to a controversial person like Prof. Menon who used the occasion to malign the image of the Indian soldiers, questioned the accession of Kashmir to India and insulted the integrity of India by inverting its map.
The report and the propaganda was based on utter lies as statements ascribed to Prof. Menon were never made by her in the seminar. 
Regretfully, the University authorities, instead of defending their employee and colleague who went all out to make this huge conference a success, caved in to the pressure of the goonda elements and went to the extent of filing criminal reports against Prof Nivedita Menon and Dr. Ranawat.
Public agitation started in and around the campus against Dr. Ranawat due to this malicious campaign by the local media and the organise dattack by the ABVP. It made her feel very unsafe as she lives alone in the campus.
It is quite inexplicable that the university authorities instituted an internal enquiry to find out the facts after having lodged police complaints against Dr. Ranawat. This act, in itself shows that the authorities had reached a conclusion even before knowing the facts.
Dr. Ranawat was in regular correspondence with the police and the internal committee. It is clear from her letters to them she was ready to present herself before the committee with all the relevant documents. Her only request was that in view of the hateful and violent campaign against her, she should be ensured security to make her movement possible.
The callous response of the committee to her legitimate request for security has shocked us. That a woman employee is denied security even in the light of the evident threat before her raises questions about the sensitivity of the university authority in this regard.
Her inability to appear before the committee in the absence of security has been taken as an act of disobedience. The hurry in which a special meeting of the highest body of the university was called only to deliberate on the report of the committee is also worrisome. That it decided to suspend Dr. Ranawat based on only the interim report is again a travesty of justice.
The harassment and torture that Dr. Ranawat is facing at the hands of her university authorities is a matter of great concern for all of us who are interested in young bright minds joining the teaching profession.
If this is the fate of a young scholar who performs her duty of exposing her students to the excellent minds in the field of scholarship then a person like her would think twice before joining a university in India.
We are utterly dismayed by the role played by the media. It published totally concocted, tendentious reports and in fact led a campaign against Dr. Ranawat and Prof. Menon. 
It is a fact that none of the newspapers had their reporters in the conference and yet they kept writing about the deliberation in the conference without citing their source. They did not even bother to verify their information with the organisers. It was a malicious media assault on Dr. Ranawat.
We are concerned that even a responsible and respected newspaper like the Rajasthan Patrika has published an extremely insensitive report carrying the photograph of Dr. Ranawat alongside those of criminals who are accused of crimes like rape and corruption and are evading law or absconding, claiming that she belongs to this category.
This vicious campaign against Dr. Rajshri Ranawat must stop immediately. The university authorities must revoke her suspension and make all efforts to make her feel secure. We also call upon our colleagues and students in the JNJU and other universities of Rajasthan and the larger academic community to speak up for Dr. Ranawat and the larger cause of academic freedom which is under severe stress in India.
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Sponsors:
Aditya Nigam, Professor, CSDS, Delhi
Apoorvanand, Professor, University of Delhi
Sohail Hashmi, Writer and Film Maker, Delhi
Dhruv Narayan, Managing Editor, Daanish Books

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