A Dalit professor at Banaras Hindu University has alleged that he was harassed by some students for publicly supporting Feroz Khan, who had been hired to teach at the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan but was met with protests by the students opposed to the idea of a “Muslim teacher for a Hindu course”. The protests ended after Khan was moved to the Sanskrit department of the Arts faculty.
Shanti Lal Salvi, who is on the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan faculty, claimed the students who confronted him used casteist slurs. “I was sitting in my room at the faculty Monday afternoon. Some students arrived and asked me to leave, saying they were shutting the faculty down. They started shouting slogans against me, using casteist slurs,” he told Newslaundry. “I ignored the students and got up to leave. Some students ran after me and tried to hit me. A student tried to attack me by throwing stones, but they did not hit me. I got a lift from a passerby and somehow reached the central office. I informed the BHU administration about the incident. The vice chancellor has constituted a committee and assured me that they will conduct an inquiry. I have been in this faculty for eight years and no student has behaved indecently with me before.”
The Sanskrit department reportedly has mostly Brahmin students who study Hindu religious texts as a part of their course.
Salvi also accused Kaushalendra Pandey, a fellow faculty member, of spreading the falsehood that he was supporting Khan because his wife was Khan’s sister.
Soon after Khan was appointed on November 6, a group of students associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, launched a protest outside the vice chancellor’s office, threatening to shut down all classes if Khan’s appointment wasn’t cancelled.
Khan had previously taught at Jaipur’s Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya, where he earned the award for best teacher.
In the wake of the protests, the BHU administration came out in support of Khan, saying he had been hired as per the BHU Act as well as the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission.