Protest against ‘Muslim’ faculty continues in BHU

File photo of Banaras Hindu University.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Protests against the appointment of a “Muslim” assistant professor in the Sanskrit faculty of the Banaras Hindu University continued on Tuesday, 12 days after it began.

The varsity, however, reiterated that the appointment was made as per norms and there was no need for further clarification.

The students opposed to the appointment of assistant professor Firoz Khan in the Sahitya (Literature) Department of the Sanskrit Vidya Dharm Vigyan of the central university staged a sit-in and recited the Hanuman Chalisa. They argued that Mr. Khan may be eligible to teach the Sanskrit ‘language’ but not the Sanskrit ‘vidya dharma’, primarily due to his religious identity.

The students have been demanding that Mr. Khan be transferred to another faculty.

“The dharma yudh (holy war) goes on,” Shubham Tiwary, one of the students leading the protest, said in a post on Facebook.

While he was not reachable on phone, Mr. Tiwary, a Ph.D scholar, said in another Facebook post: “Everyone has rights over a language, but not over religion”.

Umakant Chaturvedi, the head of department, said the issue was still deadlocked and classes were not being held in the department.

Amid speculation that the administration had convened another meeting to convince the students to drop the protests and resume classes, BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh clarified that there had been no such discussion by the vice-chancellor on Tuesday. VC Rakesh Bhatnagar chaired a preparatory meeting for the International BHU Alumni Meet 2020, said Mr. Singh.

“Once appointment is made as per rules, we have taken a stand, [there is] no use to reiterate it,” the varsity spokesperson said.

Asked about Mr. Khan not being able to discharge his duties as a teacher, Mr. Singh said, “he has officially joined and is getting his salary.”

Mr. Khan did not respond to phone calls.

On November 14, a week after the protests began, the VC stated that the selection committee had unanimously recommended Mr. Khan’s selection on the basis of prescribed guidelines of UGC and the Government of India. The VC had assured the protesting students that the administration was committed to “providing equal educational and teaching opportunities to everyone irrespective of religion, caste, community, gender etc., which were core to the cause of nation building.”

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:19:31 AM |

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