Gauhati University: CM Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Critical Professor

Gauhati University: CM Seeks Disciplinary Action Against Critical Professor

Assam CM urges Gauhati University to discipline professors for criticism, sparking debate on academic freedom and government intervention. Students rally against allegations.

Siksha MUpdated: Monday, January 22, 2024, 05:38 PM IST
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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma | PTI

In a recent twist, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has urged Gauhati University to launch disciplinary proceedings against Akhil Ranjan Dutta, the head of the university's Department of Political Science. The Chief Minister's call for action comes in the wake of Professor Dutta's outspoken criticism of Sarma's alleged derogatory remarks about scholar Hiren Gohain.

Initiating disciplinary proceedings

According to The Hindu reports, Dr. Sarma confirmed his directive to the Gauhati University Vice-Chancellor, stating, "I have directed the Gauhati University Vice-Chancellor to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the professor. As a faculty member, he frequently criticizes the Chief Minister, which is unacceptable." The Chief Minister emphasized the importance of adherence to codes of conduct, asserting that university professors should express their thoughts within certain limitations.

Dr. Sarma hinted at the introduction of legislation during the upcoming Assembly session to apply Civil Service Conduct Rules to professors critical of the Chief Minister. This potential legislative move adds another layer to the ongoing debate about the boundaries of academic freedom and expression.

Defending the assessment

The Chief Minister defended his assessment of Dr. Gohain, accusing him of having insulted Bhupen Hazarika, a cultural icon. This clash of opinions has ignited a broader discussion about the role of academics in expressing dissent and critique, as mentioned in The Hindu reports.

In response to the Chief Minister's call for disciplinary action, students of the Department of Political Science released a statement condemning the targeting of Professor Dutta. The students rejected allegations that the professor was irregular in classes, calling them baseless. They urged the Chief Minister to withdraw his remarks and allegations, emphasizing the need for a respectful dialogue on academic matters.

As the controversy continues to unfold, Gauhati University's administration faces the challenging task of navigating the delicate balance between upholding academic freedom and responding to the expectations set by the state government.

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