A professor of Kolkata's Jadavpur University was attacked with casteist abuse on social media for a post about postponing final semester exams during the pandemic.
Maroona Murmu is an associate professor of history at JU. On Sunday, September 6, Jadavpur University Teachers Association (JUTA) and All Bengal University Teachers Association (ABUTA) condemned the "vicious casteist trolling" of the professor, NDTV reported.
Murmu was abused for a post where she conveyed the need to postpone the final semester exams as "one year cannot be more precious than someone's entire life."
Consequently, a third year student of Bethune college wrote that "such thinking stems from quota-centric state of mind," implying that Murmu had academically benefited being a tribal.
Murmu, who did her undergraduate studies at Presidency College before doing research at JNU, replied to express her anguish at being called incompetent and undeserving because she carried a tribal name. This resulted in more trolling.
The Bethune College Students' Committee posted a statement on social media saying, "It is extremely disheartening and condemnable that a student of our college is still unaware of the caste dynamics in India and the need of reservations for the underprivileged. The incident in question is extremely shameful and has brought the institution into disrepute."
"Therefore on behalf of the students of Bethune College, the students committee unequivocally condemns, the comment by the third year student of the institution and resolves to stand by Dr Murmu and the struggle of all Dalits in our campus, state and country," the statement added.
On Saturday, September 5, the JUTA said in a statement that "an innocuous comment by Professor Murmu regarding the decision to conduct terminal semester exams during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused a torrent of abuse to be unleashed against her on the basis of her ethnic origin."
"Her abusers have challenged among other things her qualifications to teach in one of India's premier universities. Such an attack questioning the qualifications and integrity of Professor Murmu is an attack on every teacher, not just in Jadavpur University but anywhere in the country," JUTA general Secretary Partha Pratim Ray said in the statement.
"JUTA believes that every individual has the right to express his/her personal opinion on any matter, but never in a manner that vilifies an individual for belonging to a particular community, ethnicity, caste, class or religion," the statement said.
"She is the victim of fascist forces who want to vitiate the air of free thinking and crush liberal forces," left teacher association, ABUTA, said.
In various posts, Murmu thanked the teachers' bodies, several rights groups and individuals for supporting her.