On November 4, Organiser published a report detailing the controversial actions of Professor Sameena Dalwai, highlighting how she violated the privacy of students and exhibited inappropriate behaviour towards those with specific ideological beliefs. In response to the report and the subsequent outcry from students, against Prof Dalwai and those who raised Pro-Palestine slogans on campus, the Haryana State Women Commission took cognizance of the matter. Chairperson Renu W Bhatia visited the campus on November 7 and, after her assessment, validated the allegations outlined by students. She assured that strict measures would be taken against the professor.
Intervention of Women Conmission
After State Women Commission chairperson Bhatia visited the campus, she shared a post on her official X account, emphasising the gravity of the accusations and the blatant disregard for the privacy of numerous students. She also made reference to the emails sent by Professor Dalwai, who is the daughter of Congress leader Hussain Dalwai.
Her post reads, “I visited the campus of @JindalGlobalUNI today and had the opportunity to speak with the students who confirmed the accusations of harassment and violation of privacy during classes by Prof. Sameena Dalwai. It was extremely heartbreaking to witness firsthand that the institution even failed to provide a safe space for the students to complain without the consequences of further targeted harassment. It took external intervention from the Haryana State Women’s Commission to even create that space. Prof. C. Rajkumar, Vice Chancellor, said he did not have knowledge of the event but had received an apology from the concerned faculty. However, after speaking to students, the accusations in public are not the only ones; the students are harassed by discriminating on the basis of ideology, and religion and objectifying girls on the basis of their physical features, which is a clear violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. We have given the institution one week to take action; if the same is not undertaken or found to be satisfactory, the commission will be forced to intervene and take matters into its own hands,”
𝐒𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐜𝐲 𝐝𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐟. 𝐒𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐞𝐧𝐚 𝐃𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐢
— Renu W Bhatia (@RenuWBhatia1) November 7, 2023
She further added, “The mental anguish they’ve endured is beyond belief. Mixing politics with academics is a big no. The girls were freaked out about their privacy and dignity, stalked and harassed after Professor Dalwai’s questionable ‘act of opening dating app and objectifying them’. Several students also voiced concerns about her biased rants and discriminatory behaviour, even pointing to some emails she’d sent. Seriously, that’s a clear violation of their fundamental rights, as the courts have ruled time and again.(Kartar singh v. Union of India read with landmark judgement of Puttaswamy)”
She concluded, “We can’t let more hate and harm fester under the guise of education. It’s time to take action and uphold the constitutional values.”
As per reports, Renu W. Bhatia says in her post in relation to the Professor’s remarks on Jai Shri Ram slogan, “..it is concerning to hear that the accused, Professor Sameena Dalwai, appears to have an issue with certain Hindu slogans, specifically “Jai Shri Ram,” and labels students as right-wing, unacceptable students are students, one can not do politics at the cost of their wellbeing and career”. The Women’s Commission Chairperson has said Sameena Dalwai’s comments in the email “breaches the right to equality and practice of religion guaranteed by Bharat’s constitution”.
Renu Bhatia has said that she will conduct an investigation and meet with the Vice Chancellor and students of the law college. She has also said that the violation of the Constitution and the spread of hate crimes by Professors, who should serve as mentors and guides for students’ development, cannot be tolerated. She has also tagged the Bar Council of India on her social media post.
“Several other additional accusations and shocking issues have also come to my knowledge that I will address following my initial investigation and meeting with the students and concerned authorities”, Bhatia said in per post.
Controversy around Prof Dalwai
Readers should be aware that OP Jindal Global University in Haryana is currently entangled in a controversy, involving Professor Sameena Dalwai. She garnered attention for expressing support for Hamas and opposing ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans on campus. Dr Dalwai, has become the focal point of discussions due to a breach of privacy, prompting many students to call for action against her.
Notably, following a lecture in campus in support to Palestine, Dr. Dalwai maintained her stance that Hamas did not commit atrocities against Israeli civilians, dismissing it as ‘fake news spread by Indian troll armies’. She pointed out, “India’s response has been sad. Fake news of Hamas atrocity is created by Indian troll armies. We know their power – many of us get trolled regularly for our writing.”
She emphasised that her university places a high value on diverse opinions, in contrast to others that have shown a negative reaction towards their faculty. She expressed a hopeful outlook that this inclusive environment will persist. Dr Dalwai also noted that while right-wing students and faculty frequently organise their events, she opts for a stance of silence in the pursuit of peace, even if she may not necessarily align with their views.
Concluding her statement in a viral email, she shared, “At times, I hear chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on campus, and I observe right-wing students and faculty organising their own events. Though tempted to react, I choose to maintain peace by staying silent.”
In light of these contentious statements, there are circulating videos and screenshots from college group chats that depict Dr Dalwai infringing on the privacy of students. It has been alleged that during a class session, the professor accessed a student’s dating application, “Bumble,” in front of the entire class. Not only did she open the profile, but she also engaged in a detailed discussion about it.
After these allegations came to light, a student on promise of anonymity from OP Jindal Global University spoke with Organiser on November 4, offering insights into Dr. Sameena’s behavior towards students.
According to the student, she frequently uses derogatory language when addressing students. There was even an instance where she verbally abused a female student, instructing her to stop attending her class and assuring her of free attendance in return.
The student further stated that Dr Dalwai discriminates against students once they express their ideological views. Additionally, she insists on receiving answers and interpretations of case studies in a specific manner.
Pro-Palestine lecture organised on campus
On November 1, the university hosted a talk titled ‘The History and Politics of the Palestinian Present’ by Professor Achin Vanaik, a retired professor of International Relations and former Head of the Department of Political Science at the University of Delhi, who is now an activist. Video clips of the lecture revealed that, in the name of showing solidarity with Palestinian civilians in Gaza, he made several antisemitic and anti-Hindu comments and also criticised the Modi government for India’s stance on the conflict.
While the talk was initially centered on the current Israel-Hamas conflict, Professor Achin Vanaik made several anti-Hindu and anti-Sanatana remarks. He claimed that Hindus are inherently Islamophobic, whereas Jews are not. He also pointed out that while Zionism and Hindu Dharma share some similarities, they differ in their relationship with Islam. He stated, “Zionism is not anti-Muslim; it is anti-Palestinian, but it is happy to piggyback on current Islamophobia. Hindu Dharma, on the other hand, is fundamentally and foundationally anti-Muslim.”
Additionally, he argued against the assertion that Hindus are the original inhabitants of India and that Hindu Dharma is one of the oldest civilisations. According to the professor, archaeological and scientific evidence indicates that Vedic civilisations predate the emergence of Vedas by approximately 2000 years. He emphasised the importance of discussing the Saraswati Valley Civilisation.
Furthermore, Professor Vanaik expressed praise for suicide bombing, considering it an effective tactic employed by Islamic terrorists. He stated, “Understand one thing about suicide bombing: it expresses above all the determination not just to kill, but the determination to die.”
Professor at University sympathises with Pakistan and characterise Bharat Mata as Brahmanical figure
The student in conversation with Organiser revealed that, Amrita Sharma, participated in the campus protest march against Israel. During a class, Sharma singled out Hindu students wearing Kalawa (sacred thread) and rings, commenting, “I can see many conservative students in the class who seem to lack understanding, yet they adorn themselves with these threads and ornaments.” This has left other students feeling uncomfortable and restricted.
Sharma also once characterised ‘Bharat Mata’ as a Brahmanical figure and expressed the belief that Pakistan has suffered numerous injustices. She argued that Pakistan was initially granted insufficient land, and later India imposed many hardships on the country.
The student emphasised that these professors are not isolated cases in exhibiting discriminatory behavior and making selective remarks based on students’ ideologies; there are many others like them.
Previous controversies on the campus reported by Organiser
Organiser has been reporting all the alarming incidents happening in the university, some of them are compiled in this report.
Notably, on February 8, 2023, JGU’s professors and students organised a screening of BBC’s two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question,” which has been banned in India. The documentary has faced criticism for being perceived as biased against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the BBC’s perspective being evident.
In 2021, Prof Shruti Pandey, an Associate Professor at JGLS, made comments during an online lecture, stating, “My professor Upendra Baxi, who taught in the law school, used to say that every Hindu practices untouchability… Initially, when he said that, I didn’t think so… But it is true, guys. Go back and look at yourself and how you practice untouchability in quiet, invisible ways that we don’t even understand.” She continued to assert that every Hindu practices untouchability and alleged that Hinduism exists due to untouchability.
While she maintained her position on untouchability within Hinduism, she publicly praised Islam and its acceptance of widow remarriage. She mentioned, “We know that this is definitely something where Hinduism has a special rule because widow remarriage is much more acceptable in Islam. And sorry for those of you who believe that Islam is an inferior religion because this is one of the ways in which it shows that it is not.”
In another incident, JGU’s Prof. Arijeet Ghosh, an Assistant Professor at JGLS, expressed his separatist views in an online lecture in 2021. He stated, “Yes, it has never happened and that is why Kashmir always remains a contentious issue… And if you want my opinion, I call Jammu and Kashmir to be India-occupied-Kashmir although India tries to say it is Indian territory and Indian-administered-Kashmir. I’ll definitely think it is an aspect of occupation, which is what Kashmiris also say.”
He further commented, “I am not going into that, it is an emotive issue, right? We see Sunny Deol screaming on the border saying ‘doodh mangoge to kheer denge, Kashmir mangoge to Cheer denge’… There is a lot of emotional aspect to Kashmir, and hence I am not going into that.”
On February 27, 2020, Left-liberal ideologues at JGU organised a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at the flagpole area, displaying derogatory posters with statements like “mere room me suttee hai, Modi-Shah kutte hain,” giving it an anti-BJP, anti-RSS spin.
While the nation was mourning after the attacks of February 14, 2019, where 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives in Pulwama, the students at JGU called for a candlelight march. Notably, on February 18, 2019, a candlelight vigil was held at JGU’s flagpole to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Pulwama attacks.