Controversy again over casteism at ANGRAU

Casteism has raised its ugly head again on the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) campus. And thanks to the interference of outside forces and their yearning for publicity, a small episode has been converted into a major controversy.

The university was in the grip of yet another controversy when a Dalit student accused a professor of discriminating him against his caste while awarding marks in the annual examination. However, an enquiry committee constituted by the university exonerated the professor and termed the entire episode as a needless controversy.

The student, who is pursuing his veterinary course had failed in a few subjects in the third year annual examinations, and attributed his dismal showing to the discrimination shown by a particular teacher. However, the university officials clarified that with a fool-proof examination system there was no chance of any discrimination against any targeted individual.

But, the charges were enough for several organisations, supposedly fighting against caste discrimination to step into the fray to make their presence felt. A series of rallies and protest programmes followed, disturbing the campus atmosphere. And when the Enquiry Committee, consisting of Profs. Vijaya, Eshwaraiah and Bheemaiah looked into the allegations, they found them to be devoid of any substance.

Says, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. I.V. Subba Rao, `It is unfortunate that such problems arise despite all precautions'. He rules out interference of the teachers in awarding marks, given the fact that the examinations, including the practicals, are conducted as per the directions of the Indian Veterinary Council and evaluated by external teachers. The procedure is so complicated and elaborate that there is little chance for mischief.

A senior teacher attributed this perennial problem to the intervention of outsiders. In this particular case, the student had a pretty poor academic record. `He failed in the SSC and Intermediate examination a couple of times. How can they just support his blind allegations', asks an official.

Interestingly, the university had witnessed the `caste cases' several times in the past. But, the charges have never been proved.

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