Varanasi varsity’s Dalit lecturer sacked for social media post on Navratra

A Dalit guest lecturer at Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidhyapith in Varanasi has been removed and prohibited from entering the University premises for his social media post wherein he questioned the logic of Hindu women holding fast for nine days during Navratra.

Dr Mithilesh Kumar Gautam, a guest lecturer in the Department of Political Science, suggested that women’s life will be liberated from slavery and fear if they read the Indian Constitution and Hindu Code Bill instead of holding fast during the festival in which Hindu goddess Durga is worshipped over nine nights.

In his social media post in Hindi, Gautam had written, “For women, it is better to read the Constitution of India and the Hindu Code Bill instead of fasting for nine days during Navratra. Their lives will be free from fear and slavery. Jai Bheem.”

While some students supported the action, saying it was justified, others alleged that the lecturer was victimised because of his Dalit identity, according to NDTV.

Backing the removal decision, the varsity’s registrar Sunita Pandey said the action was taken after students complained about Gautam through a letter.

In an office order, Pandey said, “On September 29, students had complained through a letter stating that Dr Mithilesh Kumar Gautam, a guest lecturer in the political science department, had posted some material on social media, which is against Hindu religion.” Pandey cited “widespread resentment” among students against Gautam for the action.

“In view of the university atmosphere getting vitiated and examinations affected, I have been directed that Dr Mithilesh Kumar Gautam be dismissed with immediate effect, and his entry into the university campus be banned in view of security,” Pandey said in the order.

According to Tribune, Anuj Srivastava, an office-bearer of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP, a student wing of RSS, said Gautam’s comments were “wrong”, and the university had taken an “appropriate step”.

However, Lucknow University Associate Professor of Hindi Ravikant Chandan questioned the action. He is reported to have said: “I had seen that post. There was nothing unconstitutional in it. Our Constitution says that there should be a scientific India. We have the freedom of expression and the post is related to freedom of women. It is a simple and ordinary post. Now, the question is whether logic ceases to exist in new India. Secondly, he (Dr Gautam) is a Dalit teacher.”

He further said: “First they (BJP) attacked Muslims. Now they are targeting Dalit activists, teachers and social workers.” – INDIA NEWS STREAM

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