Staff Reporter

Were protesting against portions of the B.A. History syllabus

Activists allegedly manhandled HoD Prof. Jafri

All-round condemnation of the incident

NEW DELHI: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists ransacked the office of Delhi University’s History Department head S.Z.H. Jafri on Monday protesting against certain portions of the B.A. History (Honours) syllabus.

The activists allegedly manhandled Prof. Jafri and hurled abuses at him before vandalising the office. They also allegedly threw stones into classrooms and broke doors, windows and furniture of the Department on the North Campus.

Some groups have raised objections to inclusion of an essay by scholar A.K. Ramanujan titled “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation” for the course on “Ancient Indian Culture”. They claim it contained “objectionable” references to Hindu gods.

Vikas Dahiya, the State joint secretary of ABVP who led the activists, alleged: “Our delegation had gone to meet Prof. Jafri to hand over a memorandum. We told him that the Department must understand the sentiments of Hindus. He threw the memorandum at my face which infuriated the activists.”

However, Prof. Jafri termed it a “sheer lie” and said there was no provocation at all. “They came to my room and sat down. There was no talk of any memorandum. They said they wanted to speak to me in front of the media. The moment some of television channels entered my room, the activists began vandalising my room, threw the official files and manhandled me. I have reported the matter to the Vice-Chancellor,” Prof. Jafri said.

After the ugly scene, students of the History Department organised a protest at the Vivekananda Statue against the alleged hooliganism of the ABVP.

“This is clearly an attack on the academic freedom and secular fabric of the university. The communal forces instead of raising issues pertinent to students are always seeking an opportunity to create divisions among students on communal and casteist lines,” said Maya John, a student of the Department.

The teaching community too has taken umbrage at the violent incident.

“This is no way of solving a problem. If some students have a grouse against some part of the syllabus, they should resort to a dialogue and not indulge in such vandalism,” said Pradeep Kumar, an Academic Council member who teaches History at Zakir Husain College.

The Democratic Teachers’ Front too has condemned the attack. “This shameful planned attack brings into focus the threat the Sangh group poses to the social fabric and free intellectual pursuit,” said DTF president Sanjaya Kumar Bohidar.