‘We will never forget this injustice’: At DU, a protest and condolence meet for Samarveer Singh

Singh, a former ad-hoc teacher, allegedly died by suicide in April.

WrittenBy:Alenjith K Johny
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Over a month after Samarveer Singh allegedly died by suicide in Delhi, his family and former students congregated at Delhi University’s North Campus on June 2 to demand justice.

Samarveer, 33, had been an ad-hoc assistant professor at Delhi University’s Hindu College, where he taught philosophy for seven years. He reportedly lost his job in February when the university hired a permanent professor to take his place. Samarveer was found dead on April 26. 

Following his death, the university was widely criticised for its treatment of ad-hoc faculty. On May 3, several teacher associations at Delhi University wrote to the vice-chancellor alleging “politically motivated nepotism and unfair interview process” in selecting permanent teachers. The Students’ Federation of India issued a statement describing Samarveer’s death as “institutional murder”.


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article image33-year-old found dead, kin, former colleagues call it ‘institutional murder’ by DU

These issues were also flagged during the event on June 2. The group of about 30 people, including members of the Students’ Federation of India, marched from the Faculty of Arts to the gates of Hindu College. Candles were then lit in front of Samarveer’s photo.

Participants were also upset that Samarveer’s former employer did not formally organise a condolence meet for him.

“The entire process he endured was an incredibly invalidating experience,” said Singh’s cousin Sneha. “Despite all the effort and hard work he put into his role as a professor, the university should have provided some form of validation...A simple condolence meeting, or even five minutes of silence, would have been a meaningful gesture. It’s disheartening that only a few people showed up to pay their respects.”

Rahul Singh, Samarveer’s cousin and roommate at the time of his death, told Newslaundry he had only vacated the room they’d shared on June 1. 

“Our family is still struggling to come to terms with what happened to him,” he said. “I feel hopeless in my ability to seek justice for my brother. If this is how the government conducts its hiring process, it poses a threat to all the talented professors across universities.”

Rahul previously worked as a research associate at the National Tribal Research Institute in Delhi. He said he resigned from his post after Samarveer’s death.

Keshavi, a philosophy student who had been taught by Samarveer, described him as “an exceptional teacher who always showed genuine concern for his students”. “What assurance do we have that the college won’t treat any other teacher in the same manner?” she asked. “We will never forget this injustice and we will fight for Samarveer’s rights. He taught us valuable lessons that extended beyond the confines of the textbook syllabus.”

Madhu Prasad, 76, a former philosophy professor at Delhi University, alleged appointments are “now based on ideological alignment rather than merit”.

“The university used to be a different place. It’s shocking to see section 144 imposed here now,” he said. “When I was a student, the police couldn’t even enter the university premises. I left the university 16 years ago, having joined in 1963. You don’t reach the age of 76 for nothing. This university shaped me into who I am today. I can’t stand by and watch everything being destroyed without taking action.”

By the end, Sneha shared fond memories of her late cousin with Newslaundry. “He would listen to international radio even as a child, enlightening us sisters about global affairs,” she said. “His remarkable journey, starting from a modest Hindi-medium government school in Rajasthan, stands as a testament to his unwavering merit.”

Newslaundry tried telephoning and messaging Anju Srivastava, principal of Hindu College, but received no response. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, we urge you to seek help. Please call one of the helpline numbers listed here or contact a mental health professional.


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