Varanasi, Nov 22 The students of Banaras Hindu University’s Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan (SVDV) have decided to call off their fortnight-long protest against the appointment of Muslim professor Feroz Khan, as assistant professor in the department.
According to a press statement released late on Thursday by BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh, classes were expected to resume on Friday after the university administration had held several rounds of talks with the agitating students. “The semester examinations are about to begin and students should cooperate in ensuring smooth conduct of classes,” he said.
The locks of the Sanskrit Department were opened on Thursday evening. The students had locked up the department when they began their protests on November 7. Vice Chancellor Prof Rakesh Bhatnagar, Dean Prof Vindhyeswari Prasad Mishra, heads of departments, senior teachers and university officials were present during the meeting with the agitating students.
However, it is still not sure whether Feroz Khan will start taking classes from Friday. Sources said that Khan would teach Sanskrit literature but would not take up ‘Karam Kand’ (traditional ritual) syllabus. A varsity official said that the protesting students handed over a memorandum containing a charter of demands to the university administration.
The chief Proctor O.P. Rai and the head of the department assured the students that their queries would be addressed within 10 days after which the students decided to end their sit-in. The students in their memorandum have sought information about the process of short listing of candidates and whether the process in the Sahitya Department was similar to that of other departments of SVDV faculty.
They have also sought to know whether the short listing was done in view of the traditional (Sanatan Dharm) rules, which rule of UGC was adopted in short listing process and whether the appointment was done in accordance with the BHU Act or not. Prof Vindhyeswari Prasad Mishra said: “The students’ memorandum has been received and we will respond to it.” The agitating students, meanwhile, will be holding their meeting around noon after which they will hold a press conference.
The grandson of BHU founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Justice (retd) Giridhar Malviya, said: “Had Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya been alive, he would have approved the appointment of Dr Feroz Khan. The stand taken by students is wrong. They have no understanding of the concept of Hinduism. BHU welcomes all without differentiating between caste and creed.”