May 11, 2022 3:06:04 am
THE AKHIL Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Tuesday organised a protest on the Lucknow University (LU) campus demanding an apology from an associate professor – a Dalit – for allegedly making “objectionable” remarks about the Kashi Vishwanth temple in Varanasi.
The ABVP later began an “indefinite” dharna on campus, demanding that the university administration sack Ravi Kant, an associate professor in the Hindi department of the varsity.
The ABVP’s LU campus president Pradeep Kumar Maurya claimed that Kant, during an online debate (YouTube video) recently, made some “objectionable” remarks on the Kashi Vishwanth temple and its priests.
“We came to know that he (Ravi Kant) was at the Proctor’s office [on Tuesday]. Students reached there and raised the demand of an apology from him. He came out in the presence of proctorial board members and expressed regret over his remark. The students were pacified. However, a few minutes later, Kant posted on social media that the ABVP wanted to “lynch” him. Then we again started a demonstration and demanded that the LU administration sack him because he is spreading hatred on campus. He later deleted that post,” Maurya said.
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When contacted, Prof Ravi Kant said that during the TV debate, he had not given his personal opinion but made a reference to a book authored by Pattabhi Sitaramayya about the Kashi Vishwanath temple. “But the video of the debate was edited and that clip was shared as propaganda against me. At the proctorial board office, I made it clear to the students that their confusion would be cleared if they watch the full video. I expressed regret for what I said in the TV debate if I hurt other sentiments.”
Kant also alleged, “I am being targeted on campus because I am a Dalit. Some savarna (upper caste) teachers are behind this. When I was inside the proctor’s office, students were knocking loudly on the door… it seemed as if they wanted to lynch me. I wrote about this on social media but deleted the post later,” he said.
Later in the day, Kant filed a complaint at the local police station against a dozen named students and others. In the complaint, Kant has claimed that ABVP members and other “unruly elements distorted his remark” and did propaganda against him on social media.
A probe was on, police said.
When contacted, LU public relation officer Durgesh Srivastava said, “The university administration is looking into the entire matter and appropriate action will be taken.” Srivastava confirmed that students organised protests earlier on Tuesday but claimed that no agitation was going on on the campus at present. Srivastava also denied claims that students misbehaved or tried to attack Ravi Kant. “Police force was present there,” Srivastava said.
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