A DEPUTY Chief Proctor at the South campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Mirzapur district was booked on charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste, etc, after she allegedly removed a RSS flag from the university’s playground Tuesday.
A case was registered on a complaint by a local RSS office-bearer and deputy chief proctor Kiran Damle resigned from the post following protests by a group of students and local RSS workers the same day.
Station House Officer (SHO), Kotwali Dehat, Abhay Kumar Singh, said a case was registered against Damle under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief).
“RSS zilla karyawah, Chandramohan, registered a complaint against Damle,” said the SHO.
Chandramohan, head of RSS’s Mirzapur district wing, claimed, “On November 12, the daily Sangh shakha was being held at the stadium on BHU South campus as it has been for the past seven years. Around 7 am, Kiran Damle uprooted a saffron flag and threw it on the floor. All swayamsevaks present there told her that the flag has importance for religious reasons. After this, Damle verbally abused Swayamsevak Neeraj Dwivedi and others present there. She also said that despite the country accepting the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ayodhya, she does not.”
However, deputy chief proctor (South campus), BHU, Kiran Damle, told The Indian Express,”On Tuesday, when I went to the university playground, I found an orange-coloured flag hoisted there. I asked my attendant about who put it there but he said he did not know. I then asked the students present at the playground, nobody replied. After no one took responsibility, I took out the flag, gave it to my attendant and told him to keep it in my office.”
Damle, who hails from Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh, is also Assistant Director, Sports, at BHU.
She added, “Later, some students came to me and said the flag is of the RSS. I told them that I did not know because nothing was written on it. I told them that they could conduct their activities, but should not put the flag as it is a sensitive time. Later in the afternoon, a protest was held at the university demanding my resignation. Most of the protesters were from outside [the varsity]. I told the students and protesters that I made a mistake and even apologised to them. They said an apology won’t be enough and that I should resign. I told them that if that is what will make you people calm down, I will resign. I gave my resignation Tuesday from the post of deputy chief proctor. Then, some people told me they would also lodge an FIR against me. I was silent because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Dr Rama Devi, Professor in-charge, South Campus, BHU, said it was an “internal matter” and an internal inquiry would be conducted into the incident. “Some students were doing yoga in front of a flag. The deputy chief proctor apparently acted in a rude manner and took the flag away. Then, some other people got involved. Some students held a protest, and demanded her resignation from the position. She has resigned from the proctorial position. The university is looking into the issue. I have forwarded the resignation to higher authorities. The university will conduct an internal inquiry and then decide the future course of action,” Dr Devi said.
Chandramohan, the complainant, alleged, “She disrespected the saffron flag and said the shakha can’t be held there.” He added that around 25 persons, including BHU students, attend the shakha at the playground on the BHU South campus daily.