The beleaguered Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Professor Feroz Khan, whose appointment in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharm Vigyan department has led to protests by students, has finally found some support.
While the students of the BHU are opposing his appointment because he is a Muslim, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students have come out in his support.
In a letter to the BHU, AMU’s former union president Salman Imtiaz said: “We are deeply pained by Khan’s public statement. He feels insulted at BHU because of the opposition he’s facing for being a Muslim.
“We stand by him and his merit. We will not remain silent if anything untoward happens to him. His life, liberty and safety must be considered a matter of primary concern. He must get a chance to be able to teach in an amicable environment.”
The letter further said: “We condemn the insensitive behaviour of the students who believe that a Muslim cannot study or teach Sanskrit at BHU. It is shameful. We request you to arrange for classes teaching these students about the diversity, pluralism and constitutional nature of India.”
Vice president of the students’ union Hamza Sufyan said: “The professor was appointed according to the UGC guidelines and discriminating him on the basis of religion reflects the mentality of the environment these students are exposed to.”
He added that numerous professors and staff members appointed in the AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) are non-Muslims, yet they are treated with respect and dignity.