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Repeated threats to scholar and activist

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Sujata Surepally

Dalit feminist scholar

Telangana

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 4 June, 2019 regarding the false and insidious accusations and threats by the right-wing student outfit ABVP against Dr. Sujata Surepally, Head of the Department of Sociology, Satavahana University, Karimnagar, Telangana.

Dr. Surepally has been at the forefront of demanding justice for the victims of sexual harassment and action against perpetrators, in particular Dr. Srinivas Penchala, Assistant Professor Department of Botany, University College of Science. Around this time, Dr. Surepally, accompanied her students on a university sponsored and financed study tour to the Adivasi areas in Bhadradri district of Telangana. However, certain BJP-affiliated organisations and particularly Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad [ABVP], initiated a misinformation campaign, branding her as a ‘Maoist sympathiser’, falsely accusing her of facilitating a meeting of students with Maoist leaders, under the ‘garb’ of a study tour.

On May 15, 2019 the ABVP also carried out a protest and filed a complaint with the police about alleged ‘Maoist activity’ in the Satavahana University. This malicious campaign seems to be ABVP's attempt to protect a male faculty accused of sexually harassing women students at the University. Dr. Surepally has been repeatedly at the forefront of attacks and hate, particularly from right-wing and casteist organizations due to her vocal nature. The ABVP, a right-wing student group has been unsuccessful in gaining a foothold in the University, largely due to her active engagement with a cross-section of students to imbibe constitutional and secular values.

In December 2017 as well, the ABVP ran an extremely demeaning, casteist and misogynistic campaign against her on social media, alleging that she has ‘instigated’ students to insult ‘Bharat Mata’ and that she herself ‘burnt the poster of Bharat Mata’.

HRDA has prayed for impartial investigation and immediate action on the perpetrators who have acted in an unlawful manner, on behalf of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

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