On 8th October 2021, AISA burnt an effigy of Dr. Rakesh Pandey at the Faculty of Arts and marched to Kirori Mal College to protest against the professor’s ‘Marks Jihad’ remark, demanding immediate suspension and strict action against him.
At around 11:00 AM on 8th October 2021, members of the All India Students’ Association (AISA) along with other students of University of Delhi (DU) gathered at the Faculty of Arts, where an effigy of Dr. Rakesh Pandey, ‘symbolizing the brahminism and islamophobia in Delhi University’, was burnt. This was followed by a march to Kirori Mal College (KMC), where a protest was held, demanding immediate suspension and strict action against the KMC professor.
The protests come in the backdrop of the ‘Marks Jihad’ comment of the professor, wherein he alleged a conspiracy behind the large number of admissions into DU from the Kerala State Board and termed it to be ‘Marks Jihad’. In response to his remarks, several individuals and organizations have lodged their protest, including AISA, Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and National Student Union of India (NSUI).
Slamming his ‘horrendous islamophobic and racist comments against Muslim students and students hailing from Kerala’, the press release of AISA said that ‘the teacher has parroted the age old RSS rhetoric against Muslim ‘merit’ and against the people of Kerala’. The press release further stated that AISA ‘resolves to hold KMC administration accountable for this hatemongering by their teacher’ and would continue to demand the suspension of the professor. At the KMC protest, the Secretary of AISA DU, Ritwik Raj spoke against the ‘hate campaign’ against Malayali and Muslim students.
How can this person be trusted to stay fair with the class when he is spewing venom before even meeting the students? This RSS rhetoric of Muslim population, their vulgarised use of tue word ‘jihad’ in attempt to label Muslims as terrorists must be resisted. DU is a central university that works on the principles of the Constitution and we will tolerate no compromise with the ideal of secularism in the university.Ritwik Raj, Secretary, AISA DU
Dr. Pandey, a member of the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), was not present at the college during the protests.
I had raised an issue and the people about whom I had doubts are raising their voice now. I have not said anything that I should retract. I am ready to have a dialogue and I have arguments to support my views. As long as I can justify my statement, I won’t apologise.Dr. Rakesh Pandey
Delhi University is a Central University, open for admission to students from all states and all secondary boards without discrimination. Students from all states have equal rights based on merit criteria to study in the best institutions constituent of the Central University status of DU. NDTF has nothing to do with views expressed by any individual on any state secondary board. NDTF unambiguously dissociates itself from any objectionable statement.National Democratic Teachers’ Front
It is also noteworthy that the RSS-affliated NDTF has distanced itself from the professor’s comments while DU has dismissed the allegations of favouritism.
Feature Image Credits: AISA
Harish Neela Lingam