The Deputy Director of IIT-Kanpur, who is heading a committee that is probing a complaint against the recitation of a Faiz Ahmed Faiz poem on campus during a protest on December 17, said the panel wants the welfare of students.
IIT-K Deputy Director Manindra Agarwal said, “We want the students’ welfare. The committee is probing the whole incident, and not whether the Faiz poem is anti-Hindu or not.”
Agarwal, who is heading the six-member committee probing the matter, said, “We first spoke to the complainant, then to those who lodged a counter-complaint over some people stopping the protest march. We are recording all the statements. The committee asked all students and faculty members to remove all social media posts on the incident because the committee felt that if we allow accusations and counter accusations to flow on social media, we will not be able to reach any conclusion. Everyone has complied with the directions.”
Asked about the purpose and method of the probe, Agarwal said, “The purpose is to look at each and every complaint. Complaint number one is that the march was illegal. Second, the social media posts after the march… Third, whether this poem hurt sentiments. Fourth, whether there were outsiders in the march. In addition, there are complaints against opponents of the march… The committee is looking at all the complaints… We are hoping to conclude the probe in a week or 10 days.”
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A video of the poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiz Ahmad Faiz being recited at the protest was shared on social media, following which a complaint was lodged by faculty member Vashi Sharma, who alleged that the recitation of the poem hurt his “religious sentiments”. The complaint was signed by 15 students who claimed they were present during the march.
“How can they sing a poem that says idols will be brought down? It refers to the invasion of India by Mughals and hurts my religious feelings. The march was illegal as Section 144 was in place and protesters misbehaved with me and senior faculty members,” Sharma said.
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