LUCKNOW Lucknow University’s dalit professor, Ravi Kant Chandan, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that ABVP activists and other chaotic elements tried to kill him on the campus on Tuesday for his comments on the ongoing dispute surrounding the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.
“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,” said Chandan, associate professor of Hindi at LU, in his complaint.
Hundreds of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists on Tuesday staged a protest on LU campus demanding an apology from the professor for his alleged derogatory remarks made during a television debate on Kashi Vishwanath (KV) temple two days ago in the backdrop of the recent development to conduct a survey of Maa Shringar Gauri Sthal in the Kashi Vishwanath-Gyanvapi complex in Varanasi.
The professor alleged that the ABVP activists were spreading hatred against him by posting wrong facts on social media.
The professor’s comments came during an online debate hosted by Satya Hindi, a Hindi news platform. He quoted a story from the book ‘Feathers and Stones’ by Pattabhi Sitaramayya, which describes the alleged circumstances under which a temple at the disputed spot was destroyed and a mosque erected in its place.
“The Hasanganj police that registered an FIR against me on the complaint of one student for my remark on Kashi Vishwanath temple have not registered a case on my complaint against a group of ABVP activists who threatened to kill me while raising slogans on the campus,” he said.
“Lives of me and my family are in danger. Therefore, you are requested to kindly take action against those students and other lawless elements named in the complaint,” he urged the Hasanganj police.
SUPPORT FOR DALIT PROFESSOR
Azad Samaj Party president Chandra Shekhar Azad, in a tweet, said, “Has the contract of knowledge been taken by only a few castes? Shouting slogans like “goli maaro…” means killing of Bahujan thought. We stand together and will not allow injustice to happen at any cost. Those who spread anarchy should be arrested.” He tagged DGP of Uttar Pradesh in his tweet.
Several intellectuals in Lucknow also condemned the death threats being issued publicly against professor Ravi Kant.
Social workers like Roop Rekha Verma and Deepak Kabir said Ravi Kant was being targeted for his statement on Gyanvapi mosque during a discussion on online platform. “All Ravi Kant did was to narrate a story from a book ‘Feathers and Stones’ written by Patabhi Sitaramaiya,” they said.
They said ABVP activists were baying for Ravi Kant’s blood and they surrounded the department of Hindi. “The professor had to take shelter in proctor’s office. We demand that he and his family be provided protection,” said the social workers.
“We view this aggressiveness of the ABVP as yet another example of intolerance, majoritarian sectarianism and violence that is increasingly becoming the norm all over the country. We demand that elements giving public calls for extermination and annihilation be reined in immediately,” said Roop Rekha Verma and others.