‘Hindutva Ke Naam Par Thekedari Nahi Chalegi’: BHU Students Protest Outside RSS Office For Backing Muslim Teacher In Hindu Theology College
On 23 November, students from Banaras Hindu University’s (BHU’s) Hindu theology college staged a protest outside the office of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for their opposition to student protest against appointment of a Muslim teacher in the college.
For over three weeks now, students of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan (SVDV) — one of the eight faculties in BHU — have been protesting the appointment of Firoz Khan as assistant professor, urging the administration to transfer him to another Sanskrit department within the university.
Last week, representatives of Samskrita Bharati, an affiliate of the RSS, told the media that they urged students to revoke the protests and requested the university authorities to “bring the situation back to normal at the earliest”.
The Pune office of Samskrita Bharati issued a press release that reportedly said, “There is a misunderstanding connected to the subject Dharma Shastra. Dharma doesn’t mean Religion.”
Later, Jai Prakash Lal, a senior functionary of the RSS in Kashi region, also gave a statement supporting the appointment of Khan.
“It is the clear view of the RSS that protesting against Dr Firoz Khan is totally wrong…It is the firm and clear view of the RSS that the protest on communal grounds against a person, who is dedicated to teaching Sanskrit reverentially and has been appointed through a legal selection process, is entirely wrong,” Lal was quoted by the media.
In their protest outside the RSS office, the students demanded the resignation of Lal and urged the organisation to issue another statement in support of students. They also raised slogans accusing RSS of trying to be the sole custodian of Hinduism, Hindutva and Lord Ram.
“Dharm ke naam par thekedari nahi chalegi nahi chalegi… Hindutva ke naam par thekedari nahi chalegi nahi chalegi… Ram ke naam par thekedari nahi chalegi nahi chalegi,” they said.
Watch the video here:
It is pertinent to mention here that contrary to what a section of the media has reported, the protesting students do not belong to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), as this correspondent found in a visit to the campus.
The university does not have a student union. It was banned in 1997 after campus was hit by violence.
Shashikant Mishra, one of the students leading the protests, said that all students are unaffiliated. “A very few of us have off-campus associations with ABVP. Otherwise it’s entirely a protest by theology students. If we were part of ABVP, why would be protest against the RSS?” he said.
Among others, the Press Trust of India has reported that the protesters are “mostly from the RSS-affiliated students’ union ABVP”.
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