Anu Parthiban|Oct 26, 2023
Ashoka row: Another faculty member resigns, professors threatens exodus if Sabyasachi Das not reinstated
Sabyasachi Das in a paper, "Democratic backsliding in the world's largest democracy", argued that the BJP won a disproportionate share of closely contested LS seats.
NEW DELHI: Days after Sabyasachi Das, an assistant professor at Ashoka University, resigned following a controversy over his research paper, Pulapre Balakrishnan, another professor in the economics department, has put in his papers.
Das' colleagues have written to the governing body threatening a faculty exodus if he is not offered reinstatement. The English and Creative Writing departments have also extended their support to the demand.
The university had earlier distanced itself from the paper, "Democratic backsliding in the world's largest democracy", in which Das argued that the BJP won a disproportionate share of closely contested parliamentary seats in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, especially in states where it was the ruling party at the time. The research was published on the Social Science Research Network on July 25 There was no reaction available from the university on the faculty members' demand and Balakrishnan's resignation.
Swaraj India founder and political activist Yogendra Yadav lauded the step taken by the faculty members, saying, "Good to see some academics standing up in this climate of fear. Salute Prof Pulapre Balakrishnan". The faculty members of the Economic Department have written an open letter, warning that the Governing Body's "interference" in the process to "investigate the merits" of his study was likely to "precipitate an exodus of faculty".
The departments of English and Creative Writing, in a joint statement, too demanded that Das be reinstated. They also stated that they would not be able to carry out their teaching obligations "unless questions regarding basic academic freedoms are resolved before the Monsoon 2023 semester".
"The offer of resignation by our colleague Prof Sabyasachi Das and its hasty acceptance by the University has deeply ruptured the faith that we in the faculty of the department of Economics, our colleagues, our students, and well-wishers of Ashoka University everywhere, had reposed in the university's leadership," the letter said. "We urge the governing body to address this immediately, but no later than August 23, 2023. Failure to do so will systematically wreck the largest academic department at Ashoka and the very viability of the Ashoka vision," it added. Demanding that the governing body unconditionally reoffer Sabyasachi his position and also affirm that it will play no role in evaluating faculty research, the letter said,
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