Dalit professor alleges attack by student on Lucknow University campus
Lucknow University suspends student, constitutes committee to probe the matter; LUTA condemns attack on professor
Lucknow University’s dalit professor Ravi Kant Chandan, who is in the news after his comments on the Kashi Vishwanath- Gyanvapi complex, on Wednesday alleged that he was attacked by a student on the university campus in the presence of a security guard.
“At 1pm, in the presence of the security guard, a student named Karthik Pandey attacked me fatally (sic) by passing casteist remark in front of the proctor’s office,” the professor said in a WhatsApp message to this scribe.
Karthik Pandey, a student leader, said, “I was on the university campus. On the way, I met Prof Ravi Kant Chandanji of the Hindi Department who started abusing me. When a person with him attacked me with a bottle of water, I was left with no option but to fight there.”
Lucknow University spokesperson Durgesh Srivastava said that the university has suspended Karthik Pandey for attacking the teacher and has constituted a committee to further investigate the matter.
The police took Karthik Pandey away in a jeep. Inspector Ashok Sonkar of the Hassanganj police station said he was detained and the matter was being investigated.
The Lucknow University Teachers’ Association (LUTA) has strongly condemned the attack on their colleague, Ravi Kant Chandan, on the Lucknow University campus. This is an attack on the teacher community, it said.
LUTA president Vineet Kumar Verma said that if concrete action is not taken against the culprits by registering an FIR, then teachers of the university will be compelled to go for an agitation. He said the association has called an emergency meeting of the executive committee on Thursday.
“Today’s incident is a result of not taking the incident of May 10 seriously by Lucknow University and police administration, and not taking any legal action. Due to this, the chaotic elements are getting encouraged. The teacher is worried about his safety,” LUTA chief said.
Ravi Kant Chandan is in the eye of the storm over his remarks during an online debate on the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi complex issue.
The comments came during an online debate hosted by Satya Hindi, a Hindi news platform. The professor quoted a story from the book ‘Feathers and Stones’ by freedom fighter Pattabhi Sitaramayya, which describes the alleged circumstances under which a temple at the disputed spot was destroyed and a mosque erected in its place.
Some people had objected to a quote by Ravi Kant Chandan, an associate professor of Hindi at LU, during the debate. On May 10, a group of students stormed into Lucknow University, gheraoed Ravi Kant and raised objectionable slogans.
The Dalit professor had said that hundreds of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists on May 10 staged a protest on Lucknow University campus, demanding an apology from him for his alleged derogatory remarks.
“They used abusive words against me and tried to kill me on the university campus. The accused also raised slogans like “Desh ke traitors ko goli maaro” (kill the traitors of the country) and made casteist comments against me as I come from the Dalit community,” Chandan had said in his complaint to the police last week.
PROFESSOR WRITES TO NHRC
Lucknow University dalit professor Ravi Kant Chandan has written a letter to the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and blamed a colleague, Prof Vibhuti Rai from geology department, for instigating activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad against him.
Prof Rai, who happens to be the brother of the former Lucknow mayor the late SC Rai said that he had immediately regretted his WhatsApp post sent to a teachers’ group.
He said, “I am a religious man and lost my cool after hearing his comments on Hindu deity. I received a post and copied the text and sent it to the teachers’ group. Later, I expressed my regret.”
The dalit professor informed the commission that police lodged an FIR against him on a complaint by a student but the police had not lodged his (the professor’s) FIR against those whom he named in his complaint. He blamed the police for not taking note of his plea.
In his letter to NHRC, Ravi Kant Chandan alleged that ABVP activists and other “chaotic elements” tried to kill him on the campus on May 10 for his comments.