Mumbai: Prateek Kanwal, an alumnus of Harvard University, has written a letter to the President of one of world's top universities to strip Jayant Sinha of Harvard Alumni Status.
In the letter addressed to Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow, Prateek, a 2018 graduate from the university, started with these words. "On behalf of the concerned citizens of India, I have been forced to write this letter, early in your tenure, to bring to your attention the infamy that one of our alumni, Mr. Jayant Sinha (Harvard Business School, 1992) has gained in India and the disrepute he has brought your university by his intemperate actions", he wrote.
"India is at present struggling with a surge in mob related violence that has claimed many lives. In the last seven months, there have been over 70 mob attacks, where close to 33 people have been killed. These attacks, fueled by deliberate rumor mongering, are more often than not targeted at members of minority communities, Dalits, Tribals and Women to spread fear and to polarize the electorate for political gain", Prateek wrote.
"One such case was the lynching of Mr. Alimuddin Ansari, on 29th June, 2017, in the state of Jharkhand in the east of India, on suspicion that he was carrying beef in his car. Eight men who were convicted in this case were recently released on bail, pending the disposal of their appeal against their conviction in a higher court. Mr. Sinha, who is at present a Minister in the Indian Government, in a show of solidarity with these convicts, was photographed honoring them with traditional Indian garlands and sweets", he wrote.
"Mr. Sinha’s callous and insensitive actions, have generated tremendous anger in India and have been widely reported in newspapers, on television news channels, social media and other digital platforms. Unfortunately, most media reports allude to the fact that he is an alumnus of Harvard University. Which is our reason for writing to you – to draw your attention to the fact that the Harvard’s name is being sullied in India, on account of its association with Mr. Sinha", he wrote.
"Post my graduation, I decided to come back to India to serve the people of my country. I was hoping to collaborate with the alumni of our great institution to fulfil the dream of a developed India. However, Mr. Sinha’s action has come as a rude shock to me and has made me question the very ethos of our alumni movement. It is now up to you to restore faith in the power of working with and through our network", he wrote.
"Under the circumstances, you may consider issuing a statement strongly condemning his actions, to mitigate any further damage to the Harvard brand in India. We also ask that you withdraw his alumni status on account of his inappropriate behavior that has brought disrespect to the name of your hallowed institution", Prateek wrote.
"I urge you to take immediate action in this matter", he concluded.
The letter posted on change.org has beend endorsed by more than 7,500 people within hours. Interestingly, one of those who extended the support is Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
"If the sight of a highly educated MP & Central Minister, Jayant Sinha, garlanding & honouring criminals convicted of lynching an innocent man, fills you with disgust, click on the link & support this petition", Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
Read the petition here: Petition over Jayant Sinha Alumni Status.
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