The University of Mumbai has decided to investigate the alleged caste slur hurled at Vishnu Sarwade, a Dalit professor by the Dean of arts faculty Parvathi Venkatesh.
“We have received representations from both parties. We will be examining the reports and take the necessary step on Monday,” said AD Sawant, pro vice-chancellor. “Prima facie, the registrar has examined the issue.”
A senior officer from the Azad Maidan police station who refused to be quoted because he is not authorised to talk to the press said, “The concerned parties and witnesses have been called on Monday afternoon to record their statements.” The decision to lodge a first information report based on the Prevention of the Atrocities Act will be taken after the Deputy and Assistant Commissioners of Police study the report. Meanwhile, Venkatesh will continue to hold charge.
Sawant said that as per the report received from Venkatesh, Sarwade — head of the Hindi department — was aggressive during the meeting stating that the tabled item must be taken.
“She adjourned the meeting. After the registrar requested her to conduct the meeting and clear the agenda items, she continued,” said Sawant.
Higher and Technical Education Minister Dilip Walse Patil refused to comment saying he was not aware of the incident.
According to Sarwade’s complaint filed on July 7 with the Azad Maidan police, he was abused 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.