JNU Teachers Association General Secretary accused of academic Plagiarism

Amid controversy of several teachers being accused of academic plagiarism, MPhil dissertation of the JNUTA General Secretary – Dr. Sudhir Kumar Suthar has been found to be heavily plagiarised. The title of his MPhil dissertation is Political Parties and Party System in Russian Democracy. Turnitin which is leading online tool for detection of plagiarism has detected that the dissertation has been copied from various sources. What is utterly shocking that with great impudence he has used a number of paragraphs verbatim from widely read textbooks of Political Science like Andrew Heywood‟s Politics et al.

For example, on page 18 of his MPhil dissertation, Dr. Suthar writes:

“The term cadre party originally meant a „party of notables‟, dominated by an informal group of leaders who saw little point in building up a mass organization. Such parties invariably developed out of parliamentary factions or cliques at a time when the franchise was limited. However, the term „cadre‟ is now more commonly used (as in communist parties) to denote trained and professional party members who are expected to exhibit a high level of political commitment and doctrinal discipline. In this sense, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the Nazi Party in Germany, and the Fascist Party in Italy were cadre parties, as are the Chinese Communist Party.”

This full paragraph is verbatim copied from Andrew Heywood‟s Politics. Heywood in his
book on page 223 writes:

“The term cadre party originally meant a „party of notables‟, dominated by an informal group of leaders who saw little point in building up a mass organization. Such parties invariably developed out of parliamentary factions or cliques at a time when the franchise was limited. However, the term „cadre‟ is now more commonly used (as in communist parties) to denote trained and professional party members who are expected to exhibit a high level of political commitment and doctrinal discipline. In this sense, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the Nazi Party in Germany, and the Fascist Party in Italy were cadre parties, as are the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and in certain respects the Indian Congress party in the modern period.”

Once again, on page 19, Dr. Suthar writes:

“The distinguishing feature of cadre parties is their reliance on politically active elite (usually subject to quasi military discipline) that is capable of offering ideological leadership to the masses. Simultaneously strict political criterias are laid down for party membership.”

This once again is copied from Heywood‟s book Politics with paraphrasing the last sentence.
Heywood on page 223 writes:

“The distinguishing feature of cadre parties is their reliance on politically active elite (usually subject to quasi military discipline) that is capable of offering ideological leadership to the masses. Although strict political criteria are laid down for party membership, careerism and simple convenience are often powerful motives for joining such parties, as both the CPSU and the Nazis found out.”

On Page 18 of his dissertation Dr. Suthar writes:

“Parties, indeed, often develop as vehicles through which business, labour, religious, ethnic or other groups advance or defend their various interests. The UK Labour Party, for instance, was created by the trade union movement with the aim of achieving working-class political representation.”

This paragraph is precisely copied from the same book of Heywood. Heywood on page 229 of his book writes:

“In the process of developing collective goals, parties also help to articulate and aggregate the various interests found in society. Parties, indeed, often develop as vehicles through which business; labour, religious, ethnic or other groups advance or defend their various interests.

The UK Labour Party, for instance, was created by the trade union movement with the aim of achieving working-class political representation.”

Dr. Suthar on page 19 writes:

“Most modern parties fall into the category of what Otto Kirchheimer (1966) termed „catchall parties‟. These are parties that drastically reduce their ideological commitments in order to appeal to the largest possible number of voters. Kirchheimer particularly had in mind the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany, but the best examples of catch-all parties are found in the USA in the form of the Republicans and the Democrats. Modern de-ideologized socialist parties such as the German Social Democrats and the Labour Party in the UK also fit this description. These parties differ from the classic model of a mass party in that they emphasize leadership and unity, and downgrade the role of individual party members in trying to build up broad coalitions of support, rather than relying on a particular social class or sectional group.”

Heywood on page 223 writes:

“Most modern parties fall into the category of what Otto Kirchheimer (1966) termed „catchall parties‟. These are parties that drastically reduce their ideological baggage in order to appeal to the largest possible number of voters. Kirchheimer particularly had in mind the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)in Germany, but the best examples of catch-all parties are found in the USA in the form of the Republicans and the Democrats. Modern de-ideologized socialist parties such as the German Social Democrats and the Labour Party in the UK also fit this description. These parties differ from the classic model of a mass party in that they emphasize leadership and unity, and downgrade the role of individual party members in trying to build up broad coalitions of support, rather than relying on a particular social class or sectional group.”

See audacity of Dr. Suthar who merely replaces the word „baggage‟ with his own word „commitment‟ and copies the whole paragraph from Politics. Dr. Suthar writes on page 28: “A final problem is that the tendency towards moderation and compromise may mean that multiparty systems are so dominated by the political centre that they are unable to offer clear ideological alternatives. Coalition politics tends, naturally, to be characterized by negotiation and conciliation, a search for common ground, rather than by conviction and the politics of principle.”

This full paragraph is verbatim copied from the Heywood‟s book without citing the source. This is taken from the page 241 of the book Politics, where Heywood writes:

“A final problem is that the tendency towards moderation and compromise may mean that multiparty systems are so dominated by the political centre that they are unable to offer clear ideological alternatives. Coalition politics tends, naturally, to be characterized by negotiation and conciliation, a search for common ground, rather than by conviction and the politics of principle. This process can be criticized as being implicitly corrupt, in that parties are encouraged to abandon policies and principles in their quest for power.”

Dr. Sudhir Kumar Suthar is presently serving as Assistant Professor in the Centre for Political Studies (CPS), School of Social Science (SSS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). He joined JNU in 2013 when Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory was the Vice Chancellor of the University. His appointment was severely rebuked by the academic community as several
qualified candidates with appropriate specialisation were over looked to favour him. He was appointed for a position, where he did not had proper specialisation. It is interesting to note that his Ph.D supervisor Prof Sanjay Pandey was also the President of JNUTA (Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association) in 2013-2014 when he was appointed.
Another teacher Dr. Amitabh Singh who is currently appointed as Associate Professor in the Centre for Russian & Central Asian Studies (CRCAS), School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) stands accused of plagiarism. Turnitin has detected that his MPhil dissertation and PhD thesis have been copied pages after pages
from various articles published in various journals of diplomatic relations.

For example, his MPhil dissertation A Study of Yugoslav Crisis since 1991 is 45% plagiarised primarily from articles published in Foreign Policy, The Adelphi Papers et al. This dissertation was submitted in 1994 under the supervision of Prof. Shashi Kant Jha. He has copied not only long passages but few pages in continuation from various articles of varied internationally reputed journals of foreign policy. The 1st chapter of this dissertation – Historical Antecedents of the Present Crisis seems as if an undergraduate students has submitted his term paper by taking paragraphs from 4-5 articles with few changes here and there. For example, pages 1 to 4, pages 5 to 6, page 8, page 9, page 12, page 13 et al. of this dissertation has been profusely copied from Dusko Doder‟s article Yugoslavia: New War Old Hatreds published in the journal Foreign Policy in June 1993. Similarly, chapter-2 of the dissertation – Croatian and Slovenian Crisis and the Role of Armed Forces has been written in the same careless manner of undergraduate term paper by lifting passages after passages from various sources. For example, pages 18 to 34 (almost entire chapter) has been generously and shamelessly copied from an article The Republics, The Armed Forces and The War published in the journal The Adelphi Papers, Volume 32 Issue 270 in 1992. With similar audacity, a major chunk (from page 35 to 42) of the third
chapter The Problem of Bosnia – Herzegovina has been blatantly taken from the same article The Republics, The Armed Forces and The War published in the journal The Adelphi Papers, Volume 32 Issue 270 in 1992. Pages 34-35 of the same chapter have been deliberately copied from www.amnesty.org. Such kind of academic plagiarism is intolerable and if found guilty the teacher may be terminated from his services as per the latest UGC regulation on
plagiarism. The PhD Thesis of Dr. Amitabh Singh is as well found to be 41% plagiarised by Turnitin.
Title of his PhD thesis is International Mediation in the Bosnian Crisis and it was submitted in 1999 under the supervision of Prof. Shashikant Jha. The thesis has been copied verbatim paragraphs after paragraphs, pages after pages from various sources including undergraduate term papers. The PhD thesis could be an ideal case study for undergraduate students on academic plagiarism. Pages 9 to 23 of the first chapter (Introduction, Understanding the
Theory of Mediation) of his thesis has directly lifted paragraphs after paragraphs from an article Formal and Quasi – Mediators in International Disputes: An Exploratory Analysis written by L. Kriesberg in the Journal of Peace Research in 1991. Similarly, first two pages of the same chapter has been directly and barefacedly lifted from various internet sources including undergraduate term papers submitted abroad.

With similar brazenness, Amitabh Singh has lifted the entire chapter five (Mediation and Peacekeeping in Bosnia: Role of U.N., E.U. and NATO) of the PhD thesis from various internet sources, reports and articles. What is out rightly socking that major part of this chapter has been directly lifted from two books Casualties of the New World Order: The
Causes of Failure of UN Missions to Civil Wars by Michael Wesley published in 1997 by Macmillan press and International Perspectives on the Yugoslav Conflict by Alex Danchev and Thomas Halverson published in 1996 by Paglave Macmillan. Pages 155-158, 163-200, 267-269 et al. has been taken directly or through paraphrasing from Michael Wesley‟s book Casualties of the New World Order: The Causes of Failure of UN Missions to Civil Wars.
Similarly, pages 230-244, 248-258 etc have been copied from Alex Danchev‟s edited book International Perspectives on the Yugoslav Conflict. These are only tip of the iceberg of academic theft by Dr. Amitabh Singh. The PhD thesis of Dr. Singh can easily serve as a classic case to train undergraduate student, how to avoid plagiarism. As per international
practice, in such cases of academic plagiarism in dissertations and theses, degree of the candidate is revoked. Now we have to see how the JNU reacts to it these allegations.

Here it is significant to note that Amitabh Singh was appointed as Associate Professor in 2015 when Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory was the Vice Chancellor of JNU. His appointment was questioned by various section of academia since he did not has the minimum prescribed qualification required for the appointment of associate professor in a university, for example 8 years of regular continuous service as assistant professor in a university/ college. He only had 6 years of experience in regular continuous service at the time of interview. It is further alleged that he did not acquire API (Academic Performance Index) score of 300 required by a candidate to be eligible for the post of associate professor. He also did not had any experience of guiding PhD research scholars which was an essential qualification for such recruitments.

His experience was fraudulently considered on the basis of his experience as research associate that cannot be considered equivalent to assistant professor as per the then UGC guidelines. Even his experience certificate as research associate was issued by the same Centre where he was appointed that too not at the time of submitting the application but just before the date of interview. These facts point at someone trying to favour him through unfair means by relaxing the norms for him. Coincidently, at the time of his appointment Prof, Sanjay Pandey was the Chairperson of the Centre of Russian & Central Asian Studies and Prof. Anuradha Chenoy was the Dean of the School of International Studies. Both of them were part of the selection committee. Both of them are former office bearers of JNUTA.

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