Thursday, February 22, 2024

DU: Faculty who was found dead after losing his job belonged to OBC community

Samarveer Singh, the 33-year-old former ad-hoc teacher from Delhi University who died by suicide days after being displaced in the ongoing recruitment process, belonged to the Other Backward Caste (OBC) community.

Samarveer, used to teach philosophy at Hindu College and lost his job in April, found dead at his Rani Bagh home Wednesday.

His family, colleagues and students alleged he was upset after being removed from the job.

Samarveer, who hailed from Bara, Rajasthan, had studied at Hindu College. He had enrolled at JNU for a PhD.

He is survived by his parents and a younger sister.

“Institutional murder”

“Samarveer was a brilliant young teacher, the only adhoc teacher working since July 2017 against vacant positions that were advertised recently, but was summarily displaced despite his stellar record. In fact, 4 positions were advertised and Samarveer could have been retained had the administration been more sensitive to the plight of young, talented teachers who have given their best years to serve the institution. Hence, Samarveer’s suicide is nothing but an institutional murder and those responsible must be booked,” read a statement by 𝐃𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐓𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬’ 𝐅𝐫𝐨𝐧t.

“Mr Samarvir, who was displaced from Hindu College has lost his life…institutional murder!,” read a Facebook post by Abha Dev Habib, a teacher at DU’s Miranda House.

She wrote: “Their lives were wasted, they were punished for choosing academics as their career – they were forced to work on adhoc positions for long years. And now instead of getting justice, many colleagues have been crushed by those in power, for their petty networks and profits.”

Many faculties and student groups took social media to express their anger towards the incident. Some student groups called for a protest gathering on Thursday to mourn the death of professor and protest university’s “discriminatory actions.”

“It is a fact that a sizable number of long-serving ad-hoc teachers, who otherwise fill all the criteria and have worked very hard for their institutions, have been displaced in the recent interviews. With permanent appointments being made through a so-called ‘open’ recruitment process which has seen massive displacement, there expectedly looms in many ad-hoc teachers a sense of betrayal as they have been rendered without a livelihood after having taught in colleges/departments and contributing to the University for years,” said Maya John, assistant professor at Jesus and Mary College.

John alleges that ad-hoc professors were falsely promised that they would be retained and regularized through open interviews, which, according to her, has turned out to be a hoax.

“In majority of these interviews, it has been felt that merit and past experience do not count, and that it is rather non-merit factors like nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, adherence, liaising, influencing and obeisance that are at play,” she said.

John went on to say: “It is imperative on us to step up the struggle to ensure that DU teachers are not doled out a few favours, but achieve what must be a matter of their rights. We must resolve to fight for the rights of ad-hoc faculty.”

The student organisations gathered inside the campus on Thursday to protest the “institutional murder of Samarveer.”

“The large-scale displacement of teachers in DU has only increased in the last few years, across colleges. We call the death of professor Samarvir an institutional murder by the apathy of the administration and politically biased recruitment process in Delhi University,” AISA said.

“Samarveer’s death is not a suicide but an institutional murder as he, like many other ad-hoc professors choose academics as their career and worked in that position for long years and were recently displaced to favour those in power. A sizable number of long-serving ad-hoc teachers, who otherwise fill all the criteria and have worked very hard for their institutions, have been displaced in the recent interviews,” said SFI.

“Prof.Samarveer’s death is none other than an institutional murder.NEP is sucking the blood of students and professors alike. We deserve a better life.Rise in Rage against Institutional Murder,” Fraternity Movement DU said.

“Prof. Samarveer’s tragic demise amounts to institutional murder.NEP reforms have harmed teachers and students with academic pressure leading to suicides. Let’s rise against the attack on education and safeguard dignity of all,” read a social media post by Muslim Students’ Federation (MSF) DU unit.

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