28 October, 2020

Reserved Class, Hidden Conflicts

Bengal’s unseen but active caste divide springs up on social media

Reserved Class, Hidden Conflicts
outlookindia.com
2020-09-25T12:49:35+05:30

Casteist slurs, heated debates and arguments followed two back-to-back events in West Bengal, revealing a caste-based fault-line that has mostly remained invisible in the state. First, in early September, Jadavpur University (JU) professor Maroona Murmu, who belongs to a scheduled tribe (ST), was trolled online after a Bethune College student insulted and accused her of taking advantage of res­e­rvation in education and jobs. Murmu found support from aca­­de­mia, which criticised the casteist remarks. But many social media users stood by the student, Paromita Ghosh, and abu­­sed people from ST and schedu­led caste (SC) communities for the res­­erv­a­t­ion constitutionally guaranteed to them.

The controversy started when Ghosh supported on social media the Univ­er­sities Grants Commission (UGC) and the Union government’s decision to hold open-book exams during the pandemic. The JU professor commen­ted that there should be no exams this year—either students be declared passed or let them lose a year....

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