Varanasi, Nov 20 (IANS) The students’ protest against the appointment of a Muslim professor in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) entered its 14th day on Wednesday with the students refusing to give up on their demand.
The BHU administration continues to maintain that the appointment of professor Feroz Khan is in accordance with the prescribed norms and there is no question of his removal.
The BHU administration has issued a statement, saying, “The idea behind the establishment of the university was to contribute in nation-building by providing equal opportunity of study and teaching to all deserving people without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, gender and sect.”
The statement also said that Khan’s appointment was a unanimous decision made by a selection committee under a transparent process.
The Muslim professor Feroz Kahn, meanwhile, said that he felt ‘insulted’ by the incident and added that he would have never applied for the job if the university had mentioned in the advertisement that they did not want a Muslim.
Students sitting on dharna, on the other hand, have started reciting Hanuman Chalisa to underline their opposition to a Muslim faculty member.
Chakrapani Ojha, a student leader leading the protest since November 7, said: “The appointment of a Muslim faculty member has hurt the sentiments of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya who established the BHU. This appointment has been made as part of a conspiracy. The entire process, including the interview, was rigged in favour of Feroz Khan. The stone inscription installed in BHU clearly states that no non-Hindu can either study or teach in our department. Then why was a Muslim professor appointed in the faculty?”
The university spokesman Rajesh Singh said that there is no stone inscription on the premises that says non-Hindus cannot study or teach in BHU.
Shubham Tiwari, another student leader, said, “In this department, there are no teachers, all are our gurus. Everyone keeps a ‘choti’ on their head, we touch their feet and participate in ‘havan’ which is a regular ritual. If a Muslim professor is accorded a place in the department, then he will not be able to perform rituals and teach us our dharma.”
Umakant Chaturvedi, the head of the department, said that the deadlock continued and no classes were being held in the Sanskrit department.
Sources said that some faculty members in the department were instigating protest and provoking students.