DAYS AFTER he was banned from a Varanasi university campus and asked to discontinue his services as a guest lecturer over a social media post, Dalit professor Dr Mithlesh Kumar Gautam on Saturday said he was “targeted for his caste identity as some Hindu outfits had an issue with a Dalit teaching at the varsity.” Gautam was discharged from his duties on Thursday by the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith authorities for allegedly writing an “anti-Hindu post”.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Gautam, who taught the Indian Constitution at the university, said, “My social media post, over which I have been asked to discontinue teaching, was not wrong. I was only talking about women empowerment. The post only advised women to read the Constitution and Hindu Code Bill, and that is not wrong. If they read these texts, they will become more aware.” Gautam, the son of a retired police constable, hails from Niyamtabad village of Azamgarh.
The post had said that women should read the Constitution and the Hindu Code Bill instead of fasting during the nine days of Navratri. “This would result in them being free of slavery and fear,” he wrote.
The 37-year-old was a guest lecturer at the varsity for the past one year in its political science department. He has completed a PhD on social justice from the same varsity, and also has a Masters’ in Political Science from the same varsity.
“I am being threatened by people belonging to some Hindu outfits who are trying to get me arrested… I am being targeted for my Dalit identity. In the past too, some Dalit professors were targeted similarly at the university… People are writing on social media that I should face criminal action. Some people have distributed pamphlets against me. The people who complained against me wanted to beat me up, but I was not at the varsity,” said the teacher.
“I am facing action from the varsity because of pressure on the university administration from these Hindu outfits. I was not given a chance to explain my side. In the past too, some people from these outfits had lodged complaints against me. Dalit and Backward caste professors are facing discrimination,” he said.
The varsity said, “… (He) has written a post against the Hindu faith… the varsity’s students lodged a complaint on September 29. As a result of the act of Dr Gautam, there was anger among students. In view of the examination and admission process being hindered, I would like to say that under the rules of the university, Dr Gautam is discharged from his post of guest lecturer.” “He is also banned from entering the university premises keeping in mind its security,” said the statement.
“He is also banned from entering the university premises keeping in mind its security,” said a statement issued by Dr Sunita Pandey, Registrar, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith University.
Talking to The Sunday Express on Saturday, Varsity Chief Proctor Amita Singh said, “This is not the first time that we have received a complaint about Dr Gautam. He was spoken to by the Vice-Chancellor after the earlier