Effigy of Professor Ratan Lal Burnt at Hindu College

A group of students at Hindu College, allegedly including members of the ABVP, burnt an effigy of Professor Ratan Lal in protest of his statements on the Gyanvapi issue.

On 23rd May 2022, a group of students at Hindu College burnt an effigy of Professor Lal, who was arrested last week for making controversial remarks on the Gyanvapi issue. The students also submitted a memorandum to the Principal of the college and chanted slogans, including “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, “Har Har Mahadev” and “Jai Bhawani” during the burning.

Read Also: DU Professor Booked for his Remarks on Gyanvapi

Amit Pandey, one of the candidates for the post of Hindu College Parliament Prime Minister, played an active role in the demonstration and led the sloganeering. It has also been alleged that most of the students in the protesting group were members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). When contacted by DU Beat reporters, the ABVP Hindu College Vice-President could not confirm whether or not ABVP had been involved in the demonstration till several hours after the incident, but later categorically denied their involvement.

The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) Hindu College referred to the incident as “hooliganism” and alleged that individuals who were not students of the college participated in it. They also accused a member of ABVP Hansraj College of manhandling a female journalist present at the scene. They raised the question of who had allowed students of other colleges to enter the Hindu campus and what the administration would do to ensure that the incident was not repeated.

This arrest is another event in their chain of attempts to disunite and create an atmosphere of terror among students especially after what happened inside college today.

SFI Hindu College, in a social media message.

While bystanders have confirmed that students of other colleges were indeed present during the demonstration, we could not ascertain if the allegations regarding the harassment of a female journalist are true.

The issue has proved highly divisive for Hindu College students, particularly those who were present during the demonstration. Some, like the SFI, see it as an instance of hooliganism and a precursor to more extreme disturbances within the college.

As a Muslim student, I personally felt very unsafe during the incident and continue to do so due to the hostile atmosphere it has created in college. I am not involved in politics in any way, but it feels scary when your own classmates are burning effigies, kicking them around and shouting out religious chants like war cries. I don’t know what should be done about this whole situation, but we all know that if the religions of the protestors and the language of their slogans was different, we would be calling this a case of religious fanaticism and suspecting that it would lead to real violence. The same principle should be applied here.

A student of Hindu College who wished to remain anonymous.

Other students have objected strongly to Prof. Ratan Lal’s statements, lending full support to the demonstration and boycotting the professor’s classes. One student we spoke to did not opine on the controversy itself but emphasised that the students were well within their rights to protest in whatever manner they chose and that the accused professor should be dealt with properly by the courts, rather than the college administration.

I believe that the protesting students also have the right to freedom of speech and expression. The matter [of Prof. Lal’s remarks] is already subjudice. Judiciary will decide the fate of the professor.

Shukla Bhimdhamyak, student of Hindu College.

A video of policemen “arresting” a man using a long-range catching contraption has been making the rounds on social media, being passed off as and assumed to be a video of Prof. Lal being taken into custody last week. However, the video turned out to be of a Chandigarh Police drill from April 2020.

Read Also: DU Prof. Ratan Lal Granted Bail by Delhi Court

Feature Image: Anonymous

Shriya Ganguly [email protected]