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Defence of Godse, Communal Remarks: New JNU VC's Old Tweets Stir a Storm

Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.

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Edited By :Tejas Harad

Soon after Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, a professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Savitribai Phule Pune University, was named the next vice chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), what are alleged to be her tweets from the past few years, started doing the rounds on social media. A few hours after the tweets went viral, the account was deactivated.

She will be replacing Professor M Jagdish Kumar, who was recently appointed as the chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

While congratulatory messages poured in from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leaders, activists and student leaders pointed to some of her old tweets, defending MK Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse, slamming protesting farmers and seemingly rife with communal sentiments. Meanwhile, the JNU Teachers Forum welcomed her.
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Tweets That Came Under the Scanner

The newly appointed VC's Twitter profile came under the scanner soon after the announcement was made. Some of her purported tweets have been condemned by student leaders and activists.

She seems to have openly criticised the farmers protests, and when Rihanna tweeted about the protests with a link to an article about the internet blockade, Pandit said, "She has no moral right to advise us." Some of her other controversial statements included calling Shaheen Bagh protesters 'illegal jihadis' and claiming that they were paid to protest.

Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.
Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.
Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.
Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.

Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair shared a series of her controversial statements online, including one in which she said, "Godse thought action was important and identified a solution for a united India in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi."

Hours after some of her statements went viral, her Twitter account was deactivated.

Twitter Flooded With New VC's Old Tweets, Opposition to Her Appointment

Kavita Krishnan, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation leader, posted screenshots of her tweets, alleging that that the new VC is against educational institutions founded by Muslims and Christians. She said that Pandit actively hates the JNU, pointing to one of her tweets in which she appears to have said:

"Losers from JNU have lost control. Ban these extremist Naxal groups from campuses. Stop funding communal campuses like Jamia and St Stephens."

A slew of other activists and social media users have shared her tweets and condemned her appointment.

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The New VC's Background

Pandit was born in St Petersburg in Russia in 1962, and did her schooling from Chennai.

She did her BA in History and Social Psychology from Presidency College in Chennai, after which she did an MPhil in International Relations from the JNU. She then completed her PhD in the same university where her thesis was 'Parliament and Foreign Policy in India - The Nehru Years.' She began researching in 1985 and teaching in 1988.

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