Varanasi, November 22: Protesting students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have withdrawn their sit-in stir against the appointment of Professor Feroz Khan as a faculty member of the Sanskrit department. The students, however, stated that they would continue their protest in other forms which includes the boycott of classes. BHU Vice Chancellor Backs Feroz Khan, The Muslim Professor Appointed For Teaching Sanskrit, Despite ABVP Protest.
On Friday, the Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan o the BHU re-opened after a fortnight, but the classes remained boycotted nearly en-masse. The students have sought a clarity from the management on whether Khan's appointment as the Sanskrit professor remains.
The protest was launched on November 5 by the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The students' body said it would not allow the classes to function if Khan - a Muslim by faith - will teach in the Sanskrit department where theology related to Hinduism is also part of the curriculum.
BHU Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar, who was part of the three-member selection panel which appointed Khan, has backed his candidature. In the meeting held with a delegation of protesters, Bhatnagar said the Muslim professor was selected based on his merit.
Khan, a native of Rajasthan's Jaipur district, holds MA and PhD degrees in Sanskrit. After the ABVP students launched a protest against him, he went into hiding. On Tuesday, it was reported that he has decided to leave Varanasi and return to Jaipur for the next few days.
A section of students along with faculty members held counter protests in BHU to express solidarity with Khan. They have demanded the management to take strict action against the ABVP members who are trying to illegally overturn a decision taken by the University Grants Commission.