By Laura Steurer, BA in Politics and History
At the most recent SOAS Student Union Annual General Meeting (AGM), an emergency motion of no confidence was tabled against the current co-president for welfare and campaigns, Sushant Singh. According to the SOAS student union website, Singh first studied at Delhi University, then finished his MA at SOAS and is the incumbent co-president for welfare and campaigns, receiving a London living-wage salary from the student union. He was first elected for this position in March 2022 and re-elected in March 2023 with the highest number of votes ever recorded.
The official agenda of the student union’s annual general meeting, which includes the no-confidence motion discloses the four main reasons for submission: sexual harassment allegations, failure to fulfil election pledges, acting beyond one’s brief and public affiliations with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP is the ruling political party in India, and is known for suppressing Muslim and Christian minorities in order to forge a new Hindu-nationalist state. These allegations are still under investigation and it would be irresponsible for us to comment on them, we have merely outlined the content of the no-confidence motion which is publicly available on the SOAS student union’s website, within the news section
As per an anonymous source, concerns about Singh were initially raised in the run-up to the March 2022 elections, yet there was insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation. A new student union CEO was appointed in September 2022. This led to a new administrative structure and consequently, the need to re-raise the allegations to a new team, which was not done by the original allegers.
According to the same source, the primary reason for reigniting the concerns was Singh’s affiliation with BJP. As can be seen on Instagram, Singh hosted a discussion in November 2022 with the BJP representative for Dalits focusing on the handing out of scholarships for Dalits, the lowest strata of the caste system in India. Singh pledged in his manifesto to protect minorities in their home country and vigilance against Islamophobia. It was made clear that his association with the BJP was based on elevating the lives of Dalits. Nevertheless, given the ill-treatment by the BJP against minorities, particularly Indian Muslims, students became concerned that one of its members was brought to the SOAS campus and felt it contradicted his election pledges.
“The SOAS Spirit can reveal that an outside human resources organisation is currently investigating the behaviour of Sushant Singh.“
The SOAS Spirit can reveal that an outside human resources organisation is currently investigating the behaviour of Sushant Singh. If Singh’s conduct is not deemed worthy of termination from their perspective, then a student-wide referendum regarding Sushant Singh’s position will be held. The investigation is ongoing, updates will be published on the SOAS Spirit as and when they occur.
Sushant Singh was initially approached for an interview but failed to respond and has since been approached for comment.