The University of Mumbai has appointed a fact-finding committee to look into the allegations of caste slur levelled by Vishnu Sarwade, a dalit professor, on the dean of Arts faculty, Parvathi Venkatesh, on July 12.
“A five-member committee has been appointed to look into the matter. The report will be submitted in 15 days,” said Vice Chancellor Vijay Khole. Pro Vice-Chancellor AD Sawant is heading the committee. Meanwhile, Venkatesh will continue to hold charge.
On Monday, Sarwade the head of the Hindi department recorded his statement with the Azad Maidan police. “Investigations are on. The statements of the witnesses have also been recorded. We have sent a call letter to the dean for her side,” said Senior Police Inspector Prakash Shishupal.
The decision to lodge an FIR based on the Prevention of the Atrocities Act 1989 will be taken after the deputy and assistant commissioners of police study the report.
On July 12, Hindustan Times had reported that Sarwade claimed in a police complaint that Venkatesh had abused him when he requested an external examiner for a PhD that Sunil Chavan, head of the Hindi department at Arts & Commerce College in Lanja, Ratnagiri, was working on under him. Chavan is a Dalit too and was working on a thesis on Dalit writer Mohandas Naimishray.
According to Sarwade’s July 7 complaint at the Azad Maidan police, Venkatesh told him: “Tum achhoot log, achhooton pe hi kaam karte ho kya? (Why do you untouchables only write about untouchables?)”.