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Sunday, Dec 08, 2019

BHU students call off protest as RSS backs Sanskrit professor

The local chapter of RSS on Friday described “as totally wrong” the protest that started on November 7 against the appointment of Dr. Firoz Khan at the department of Sahitya in the faculty of Sankrit Vidya Dharma Vijgyan (SVDV).

lucknow Updated: Nov 23, 2019 04:20 IST
Sudhir Kumar
Sudhir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
Students called off a fortnight-long sit-in protest on Friday against the appointment of a Muslim to teach Sanskrit in Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit studies department.
Students called off a fortnight-long sit-in protest on Friday against the appointment of a Muslim to teach Sanskrit in Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit studies department.(PTI photo)
         

Students called off a fortnight-long sit-in protest on Friday against the appointment of a Muslim to teach Sanskrit in Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit studies department, apparently swayed by the support he received from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (BHU) and vice chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar.

The local chapter of RSS on Friday described “as totally wrong” the protest that started on November 7 against the appointment of Dr. Firoz Khan at the department of Sahitya in the faculty of Sankrit Vidya Dharma Vijgyan (SVDV).

The ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party expressed full support for the appointment of Khan, making its stand public after a three-hour meeting of the senior functionaries at the Vishwa Samvad Kendra in Varanasi where Khan’s appointment was discussed.

“All aspects related to the controversy regarding appointment of Dr Firoz Khan in the department of Sahitya at the faculty of SVDV was discussed in the meeting,” said Jai Prakash Lal, a senior functionary at the Kashi region RSS,”It is the clear view of the RSS that protesting against Dr Firoz Khan is totally wrong.. It is the firm and clear view of the RSS that the protest on communal grounds against a person, who is dedicated to teaching Sanskrit reverentially and has been appointed through a legal selection process, is entirely wrong.”

BHU vice chancellor Bhatnagar’s firm stand in favour of the appointment of Khan also helped defuse the protest. “There is no question of looking back at the matter as the appointment has been done on basis of pure merit,” he said at a meeting with members of the faculty.

A senior professor who didn’t want to be identified said Bhatnagar made it clear at the meeting that Khan had been appointed in the faculty on the recommendation of a selection committee that found him to the most suitable candidate for the job.

“All rules and regulations have been strictly followed in the appointment of Dr Firoz Khan,” the vice chancellor was quoted as saying.

Another professor, who also attended the meeting, said the VC asked professors of different departments of SVDV to try and persuade the students of Sahitya to end the sit-in. The dean of SVDV and the head of the department of Sahitya and

The professor said that thereafter, the dean of the faculty of SVDV and head of department of Sahitya along with other professors held a three-hour meeting with the students who were on the sit-in protest, which was eventually called off.

Earlier in the day, the protesting students burnt an effigy of the vice chancellor.

BHU public relation officer Rajesh Singh said, “The students, who have been staging a sit-in outside the Vice Chancellor’s residence against the appointment of an Assistant Professor in Sahitya Department of Faculty of SVDV, have ended the dharma at around 5.30 pm on Friday. University administration has been in constant touch with the students throughout the day following talks with them on Thursday.”

One of the students, Shashikant, said the protestors had asked the BHU administration which rule of the University Grants Commission (UGC) it had followed in shortlisting candidates for the job and whether the BHU Act had been complied with in appointing Khan.

“The BHU administration promised to provide us answers to these queries in 10 days. Therefore we have called off our dharna. But our movement against the appointment would remain continue. We will submit a memorandum to the public relations office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kashi on Saturday,” he said.

Khan’s mobile phone number was switched off and he couldn’t be reached for comment. The BHU administration did not disclose his whereabouts for security reasons.