Lucknow, March 11: A Dalit Professor of Hindi Department in Lucknow University has been denied a literary award after he posted on Facebook a satirical post on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Assistant Professor in Hindi Department, Ravi Kant Chandan, was informed on February 28, 2019, that he would be the recipient of this year's Raman Lal Agarwal Award by Rajya Karmachari Sahitya Sansthan, UP (State Employees Literary Association) at the end of March.
However, the institute changed its mind after it received a complaint from a person objecting to his recent Facebook post. The professor had on social media criticised the BJP for politicising the Pulwama attack and its aftermath including Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's release by Pakistan.
The Association sent a letter to the professor on March 6, 2019, saying that the government-funded organisation has changed his mind about granting him the award after his Facebook posts which it wanted to avoid any "controversies."
The professor wrote on Facebook, "The condition of Bhakts is such that they celebrate his(Donald Trump) birthday and make his picture eat the cake. And their Devta (Modi) goes to Pakistan uninvited, he is a patriot. While if I applaud the efforts by Imran Khan over the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan, then I become a traitor. I had to face abuses from them."
In another Facebook post, Professor Ravi Kant commented on the recent fight that broke out in the open after BJP MP from Sant Kabir Nagar Sharad Tripathi and MLA from Mehdawal, Rakesh Baghel, came to blows in full public open. The incident took place when the planning committee meeting was underway at the collectorate in the presence of minister in-charge of the district, Ashutosh Tandon.
Talking to LatestLY, professor Kant said that he only wrote what he has been observing around him and said that it is not new for him to speak and raise his voice against any "injustices" done in the society. A student of JNU, Professor Chandan said that he has been involved in "unmasking the hypocrisy and divide and rule policy of the BJP and the RSS." Professor Chandan added that he has time and again received threats from the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) - the student wing of the BJP, for raising topics important to Dalit society.
The State Employees Literary Association has said that the award to Professor Ravi Kant Chandan was denied in order to prevent controversy of any kind. However, the Opposition parties have slammed the BJP after the cancellation of the award to Professor Chandan.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter and said, “The BJP’s assault on Dalits continues unabated. Today Prof. Ravi Kant of Lucknow University was stripped of a state-sponsored award for having anti-BJP views. This the true face of their so-called nationalism.”
This is the second such instance in recent times. Last week, a professor from Karnataka was forced to kneel and apologise for his posts on Facebook in which he allegedly criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on India-Pakistan tension and praised Imran Khan.