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BHU faculty row: Students firmly against Muslim professor


LUCKNOW: Talks between Banaras Hindu University (BHU) authorities and protestors on Thursday failed to placate the agitating students of faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharm Vijnan (SVDV). 

Though the BHU administration unlocked the faculty, classes could not be held due to the stir, with the students threatening to approach the court if the authorities failed to resolve the issue. These students are protesting against assistant professor Firoz Khan, saying that the appointment of a non-Hindu teacher was against the tenets of the university set up by Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya.

While the demonstrators suggested BHU to shift Khan to the Sanskrit department under Arts faculty, the professor returned to the campus on late Wednesday night. He had left for his native village Bagru in Jaipur after the protest over his appointment.

Expressing gratitude to the university authorities along with students and teachers for supporting him, Khan appealed to the protesting students to return to classes. In a viral audio clip, Khan is purportedly heard urging the students to understand him for once and offering to talk to them if allowed by BHU administration.  

But, the protestors maintain that they are not against Khan but his appointment at SVDV where Sanatan Karmakand is taught through Sanatan Vedic rituals. “We are not against Prof Firoz Khan. He is welcome to the campus but the objection is to the appointment of a non-Hindu who will be unable to follow the rules of ‘Sanatan Karmakand’.

The plaque at the SVDV entrance makes it clear that a non-Hindu cannot be appointed,” said Shubham Tiwari, a research scholar at SVDV. 

While Prof KK Mishra, Head of Department, Political Science, BHU found the students’ demand reasonable to an extent, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, who holds the portfolio of higher education, disapproved of the protests. “They can question the appointment and the merit of the teacher, but not his religion.

I will speak to the vice-chancellor and enquire about the development that is taking place at BHU,” he said. Meanwhile, Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati met the protestors and expressed his support to their ongoing protest against Khan.