An assistant professor of Allahabad University has gone on indefinite leave from last month, saying he feared being lynched on campus. Vikram Harijan (40), a Dalit assistant professor in the Medieval and Ancient History Department, said he sent his leave application after he was gheraoed and threatened over some remarks he was seen making in a video that went viral in August.
The university administration has issued a showcause notice to Vikram for his allegedly objectionable remarks in the video, and he is yet to file a reply. The ABVP has filed a police complaint against him.
Vikram alleged that a research scholar, Ranjeet Kumar, also a Dalit, had edited the video of a two-year-old speech and circulated it to harass him.
The video, in which Vikram allegedly made objectionable remarks against a Hindu God, went viral on August 20. “The 2.3-minute video shows parts of a speech I gave during B R Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, 2017. It was a small get-together outside the campus. I had narrated an incident to explain that we can move forward with hard work and not depend on destiny. I wanted to promote rationality through my statement,” said Vikram.
“My research scholar, Ranjeet, edited and circulated the video to harass me, because this year I complained against him to the chief proctor and vice-chancellor, stating that his conduct as a student was unsatisfactory. I also stated that Ranjeet was blackmailing me because I had discussed my personal life with him,” Vikram told The Indian Express.
“After the video was circulated, a group of students started targetting me. On August 26, students from ABVP gheraoed me on the campus and threatened me for making such remarks in the video. Fearing for my life, I escaped with the help of a security guard,” said Vikram. He said he was getting threat calls, and that he stopped going to university after August 26.
“I sent a leave application to my head of department Yogeshwar Tiwari. My leave ends today, so I am sending another e-mail to extend it. I had sent a letter through a student to the chief proctor and vice-chancellor fearing threat to my life and lynching on campus,” said Vikram, who has left Prayagraj.
Taking cognizance of the video, university Registrar N K Shukla sent a showcause notice to Vikram seeking a reply in three days. “Vikram sought some more time to reply,” he said.
Vikram claimed he approached Chief Proctor Ram Sewak Dubey, who is also president of Allahabad University Teachers’ Union, and Prayagraj SSP Satyarth Aniruddha Pankaj seeking help and security. “The Chief Proctor advised me to approach the district administration. When I called the SSP, he asked me to first reply to the showcause notice,” said Vikram.
Dubey said, “Vikram is unnecessary playing politics and making false allegations of being lynched on campus.”
When asked about the complaint against Ranjeet, Dubey said, “Ranjeet also complained against Vikram saying he demanded money. On Vikram’s allegation, a showcause notice was issued to Ranjeet and he replied. On the basis of this, another notice was issued to Vikram, who is yet to reply.”
ABVP’s state sah mantri (Kanshi prant) Ashwani Kumar Maurya said, “A complaint seeking FIR against Vikram has been filed for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a video in which he made objectionable remarks on God. I have also sent a letter to the President of India requesting action.”
SSP Pankaj said, “On the basis of Vikram’s reply to the university, the next course of action would be taken in the complaint filed against him.”
When contacted, Ranjeet said, “I uploaded the video. My intention was to promote his thought, but some people diverted it to another direction. My differences with him have been sorted out.”