An FIR is registered against Lucknow University Hindi professor Ravikant Chandan for his remarks during an online debate on the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque controversy.
The case is based on a complaint by a student of the university and an ABVP worker, Aman Dubey, who alleges the Dalit professor of hurting Hindu sentiments.
Chandan was heckled on Tuesday by members of the Hindu nationalist student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad inside the university campus.
He was charged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc.); 504 (intentional insult with the intent to prove a breach of peace); 505(2) (statements conducive to public mischief committed in a place of worship); and Section 66 of the IT Act.
In the online debate, Chandan quoted a story from a book called “Feathers and Stones” by Pattabhi Sitaramayya, an independence activist and political leader from Andhra Pradesh, about why Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi was demolished by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
The story in the book described a rape that took place inside the temple complex when Aurangzeb was passing through Varanasi.
In a video statement, Kant said his voice was being suppressed because he is a Dalit.
“I made a statement quoting a story from a book about how the mosque came to be constructed in Varanasi. That statement and the reference to the book were edited out and a clip was shared suggesting I was hurting Hindu sentiments. I had no such intention. I was merely referring to a story, not even a factual account,” the professor said.
“Despite this, students of the ABVP and outsiders came here and raised objectionable slogans. With the help of the police, I spoke to the students and asked them to see the whole clip and expressed regret if anyone’s sentiments were hurt. I did post the incident on Facebook. I am a Dalit and follow the values of Baba Saheb’s Constitution and I feel my voice is being suppressed, being from this community,” the professor added.
Meanwhile condemning the ABVP’s “hooliganism inside the campus,” the All India Students’ Association (AISA), a left-wing body, said they stand with the professor.
“The hooliganism of ABVP fanatics is increasing continuously in the university campuses. Today, ABVP goons barging into the campus of Lucknow University are continuously threatening to kill a Dalit Professor Dr. Ravikant Chandan,” the AISA said.