File photo of RS Kureel

RS Kureel says he was not even aware that a seminar on ‘constitutionalism, democracy and challenges’ was taking place

Distinguished agricultural scientist and Vice-Chancellor of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences (BRAUSS), Indore, RS Kureel has been removed from his post for allegedly inviting Congress leader Mohan Prakash and grandson of Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Prakash Ambedkar, for a seminar on reservation in the university.

It is believed that a protest organised by right wing activists in the campus following the seminar has triggered his ouster from the university. A researcher of the university told National Herald on the condition of anonymity that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government was under pressure. “RSS and other wing organisations had run a campaign against Kureel,” said the researcher.

Kureel, who comes from a Dalit family, confirmed his removal but denied the allegation of political involvement in the same breath. He also denied inviting Congress leader Mohan Prakash to the campus.

Talking to National Herald, he said that he does not have any ‘complaint’ against the BJP government. However, he said, “I could not understand the reason. I was not even in the know of the seminar. Professor Naik had invited Prakash Ambedkar,” he said.

Kureel has been asked to join Ministry of Agriculture in Delhi as Director. “Order of my joining would be issued very soon,” he informed.

Though Kureel insisted that his removal must not be seen in the light of political vendetta, his colleagues in Indore presented a different version.

Dean, School of Dr. Ambedkar’s Thoughts & Philosophy, CD Naik accepted that he had invited Prakash Ambedkar to speak on “constitutionalism, democracy and challenges” in the university but it was done “after consultation with the welcome committee.”

“Congress leader Mohan Prakash has joined the seminar by his own. Since he was in town with Prakash Ambedkar, he attended the discussion. Protest by a handful right wing activists was used as a pretext to remove the VC,” he added.

When contacted, Congress leader Mohan Prakash blasted the BJP government, saying, “Have I committed any sin by joining the discussion?”

A known RSS man and the Governor of Madhya Pradesh and Chancellor of universities in the state, OP Kohli, issued notification of the removal on September 18.

Immediate after removal of Kureel, Additional Chief Secretary (Government of Madhya Pradesh), B R Naidu, also “an RSS man”, was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Prakash Ambedkar said that Kureel paid price for his popularity and pro-reservation stand.

“He used to meet students on a regular basis. He made university a place of debate and discussion on burning questions of the society such as reservation and casteism. His pro-reservation stance perhaps angered the BJP government most,” said Prakash Ambedkar from Mumbai.

“You can see a pattern all over India where Dalits are being targeted, they are facing mob lynching. If this continues to happen, BJP will be thrown out of the power,” he said.

Dr BR Ambedkar University of Social Sciences was established in 2016 by the Government of Madhya Pradesh under the BR Ambedkar University of Social Sciences Act, 2015.

According to the information available on the website of the university, BRAUSS is the first University of Social Sciences in the country established at the birth place of Ambedkar with the purpose to promote “educational excellence & skill development of SC/ST and OBCs and to enlarge their participation in decision making and nation building.”