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A Muslim student levelled false allegations against 3 professors at Dartmouth College in the USA just because they are Hindus: Details

Dartmouth College student Maha Hasan Alshawi alleged that teachers Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Amit Chakrabarti and Prasad Jayanti were working against her because she is Muslim and they are Hindus

On Friday (October 22), the student-led Twitter account ‘Hindu on Campus’ informed about a malafide attempt by a former student named Maha Hasan Alshawi to unsuccessfully oust 3 Hindu professors from the Dartmouth college in the United States, just because they are Hindus. While dubbing it the ‘biggest Hinduphobic scandal in Dartmouth’s history, the popular Twitter account showed how Alshawi tried to implicate 3 Professors just because of their religious affiliation.

Maha Hasan Alshawi, an ex-Computer Science PhD student at Dartmouth College between September 2019 and November 2020, had alleged that her research advisor Alberto Quattrini Li entered her office without permission and touched his private part twice for 20-30 seconds in her presence. She had accused her three Professors from the Computer Science Department, namely, Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Amit Chakrabarti and Prasad Jayanti of ‘retaliation’ and ‘discrimination on the basis of religion’ for complaining against her research advisor Li.

In her complaint, she claimed that Professor Jayanti withheld solutions to problem sets from her, deliberately gave her a “low pass” grade and stopped her from taking an advanced algorithms class. Maha Hasan Alshawi alleged that Professor Amit Chakrabarti did not continue as her research advisor and ‘forced’ her to find a new supervisor before April 3, 2020. According to Maha Hasan Alshawi, it was an adverse ‘retaliation for reporting against her research advisor Alberto Quattrini Li for ‘sexual misconduct’.

Dartmouth students makes sweeping generalisation about Hindus, accuses Professors of hating Muslims

During the investigation, the Director of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) Antonio Ferrantino noted that Maha Hasan Alshawi had made obscure remarks about the religious identity of Professors Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Amit Chakrabarti and Prasad Jayanti in an email on June 16, 2020. She claimed, “As I said before, (Respondent) Jayanti, (Respondent) Amit (Chakrabarti), Professor Deeparnab (Chakrabarty), and (Student 3) all belong to the same religion (Hindu), and they are all friends and colleagues.”

Antonio Ferrantino had observed that no specific complaint was made against Professor Deeparnab Chakrabarty. Maha Hasan Alshawi then went on to claim that she was harassed for being a Muslim. Although the IDE Director asked her to provide specific information about the alleged harassment, the complainant refused to give any information. “She said she believed that Hindus like seeing Muslims being tortured but there were no specifics. It was just her belief,” recounted Antonio Ferrantino.

“I think they were helping [Respondent] Jayanti in abusing me because I am a Muslim. Why do you think they abused me by threatening and penalizing me but they didn’t abuse anyone else?” she told Antonio Ferrantino in an email. It thus became clear that the belief of the Muslim student that the Hindu professors hated her was the primary motivation for hounding Deeparnab Chakrabarty, Amit Chakrabarti and Prasad Jayanti.

Muslim student accused Professor of being RSS member based on an Indian source

Maha Hasan Alshawi further alleged that Professor Prasad Jayanti was a member of an ‘Anti-muslim organisation named Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).’ She also claimed that he directed one graduate student (Student 3) to inquire about her religion. “As to the report that Respondent Jayanti was a member of an anti-Muslim organization, there was insufficient information to support that allegation. Respondent Ferrantino noted that the sole basis for the allegation was Complainant’s statement that she heard about Respondent Jayanti’s membership “online by an individual who lives in India,” read the findings.

She again refused to provide further information about the Indian source and her allegations could not be ascertained with certainty. While investigating the allegation of directing Student 3 to inquire about her religion, the report noted, “…There was insufficient information to support this allegation. Student 3 denied speaking with Complainant about her religion and also denied that Respondent Jayanti ever directed him to speak with Complainant about her religion. Further, Complainant did not have any information that supported her belief.”

Impact on the unfounded allegations against the Hindu professors

Despite the final investigation report exonerating Professor Prasad Jayanti, he came under the attack of radical Islamists who tweeted in support of Maha Hasan Alshawi using the hashtag #justice4mahahasan. One radical Islamist (@wassimhds) shared the profile link of Professor Jayanti and encouraged hate calls towards him by dubbing him as an ‘abusive Hindutva scam.’ As expected, he came under attack from unknown persons via email and Twitter. Aggrieved by the situation, Professor Jayanti filed a complaint with the Hanover police Department on July 26 this year.

In its concluding tweets, Hindu on Campus wrote, “A summary of the situation: A student filed a complaint against a Hindu professor for no other reason other than “Hindus love to see Muslims tortured” and that he came from an Indian background. This cascaded into a witch hunt of Hindu professors and students who were harassed, intimidated and threatened with violence.”

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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