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To

The President of India

Rashtrapati Bhavan,

New Delhi, India.

Your Excellency,

We, the academics and activists of South Asian origin from across the world, as well as our international allies engaged with and concerned about India write to add our voice in support of Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar, Secretary of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS). We research and teach the histories and emancipatory struggles of marginalized communities in India. Therefore, we are fully aware of the importance of educational opportunities provided by the Indian government to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Every year from March15 to April 14, coinciding with the birthdays of Kanshi Ram and Dr. B.. R. Ambedkar, Dalits across India celebrate  Bhim Diksha. This year, on March 15, 2021, Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar participated in Bhim Diksha and the organizers recited the pledge of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar recited at the time of his conversion to Buddhism. Some vested interests recorded the pledge and started a smear campaign against Dr. Kumar, labeling him anti-Hindu. Even though he has distanced himself and stated that as a responsible administrator and citizen of the country, he stands by the constitutional values of inclusion, attacks on him are continuing in social media and other platforms, to the extent of demanding his removal.

Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar volunteered to move from his decorated career in the Indian Police Service to become the Secretary of TSWREIS in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh to serve children from poor and marginalized communities. He transformed the neglected state-run social welfare residential schools meant for Dalit, Adivasi, and other marginalized children into now-coveted, world-class institutions. In the last nine years under his stewardship, children from poor and marginalized communities, especially girls, emerged as role models for society. They transformed the meaning of education in the lives of the oppressed. For example, a first-generation tribal girl, Poorna, became the youngest person in the world to scale Mount Everest. Hundreds of his students have become doctors, and engineers. The students from TSWREIS compete with privileged students at public and private universities in India and abroad such as Azim Premji University, Ashoka University, and premier colleges in Delhi University like Lady Sriram College and Hindu College. Some even went on to pursue higher education at world-renowned institutions like the University of London.

However, unfortunately, Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar’s commitment to the incredible achievements of marginalized children is not being appreciated by some groups disinterested in the progress of SC, ST, and minority students. They are leveling unfounded allegations against the institutions headed by him to undermine his pathbreaking work. We applaud the Telangana government for its steadfast commitment to the education of marginalized children and the support extended to Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar.

We urge the Honorable President’s office to take necessary action and direct the Telangana state to provide needed support and encouragement to TSWREIS and its Secretary, Dr. R. S. Praveen Kumar, and promote similar institutions across India to educate and emancipate marginalized children. TSWREIS has become a replicable model for the rest of the country.

cc. Governor of Telangana

Chief Minister of Telangana

Home Minister of the Government of India.

For more information, please see the following links:

On the excellent work of the TSWREIS schools have done:

https://www.huffpost.com/archive/in/entry/swaeroes-satellite-everest-poorna-telangana-praveen-kumar_in_5d59686fe4b056fafd0d7567

More information about the current controversy, and R. S. Praveen Kumar’s clarification:

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/after-video-triggers-row-telangana-ips-officer-praveen-kumar-issues-clarification-145295

https://thewire.in/rights/telangana-ips-officer-rs-praveen-kumar-swaeros-hindutva-groups

Thank you.

Sincerely,
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