Lucknow— An incident of caste-based discrimination has been brought to the fore at the Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University in Lucknow, where a student was alleged to have made derogatory remarks about the revered political leader and social reformer, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The situation came to a head when a group of students gathered outside the Ambedkar Bhawan, the principal administrative building on campus, and vociferously demanded the expulsion of the offending student. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice in our nation, and the importance of upholding the legacy of figures such as Dr. Ambedkar.
Kalpana Saroj, a student of the university, stated, "On January 26th, a Saraswati Puja was organized at our hostel. I was also present and when the puja was over, I said that if Saraswati Mata is being worshipped, then Babasaheb should also be garlanded, as he has given us the right to study. And when we were deprived of the right to study, then where was 'Mataji?' At this, a girl from Bengal said, 'Keep quiet or else we will throw the photo of Ambedkar and stomp over it.' They also hurled casteist abuses at me and threatened me in my room." She added.
Disclosing the details about the meeting with the administration, Kalpana stated, "No resolution could be reached at the meeting as the administration is insisting that I forgive the girls, as they are also admitting their mistake, but I am demanding their expulsion from both the hostel and the university." Kalpana also alleged that the administration is attempting to exert pressure on her through her parents. "They called my parents at 1 A.M. in the night and told them that I am missing." Kalpana said
Basant Kanaujia, who is also protesting the alleged denigration of B.R. Ambedkar, told The Mooknayak, "This university is named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and if he cannot be worshiped, he should also not be disrespected. He alleges a nexus between the RSS and the administration and claims that the proctor himself is associated with the ABVP and the security officer B.S. Saini is associated with the RSS. He claims that at the behest of the security officer, the Ramabai Ambedkar Chowki incharge threatens him with dire consequences because he raises his voice for justice. "If something happens to us, then the RSS-affiliated security officer B.S. Saini and Professor Vibhuti Bhushan Malik, who is an ABVP supporter , will be responsible" he said.
Gaurav Verma, another protesting student, alleged that the same upper-caste girl had indulged in casteist behavior earlier in the day. He stated, "During the morning, we had organized a procession to celebrate Republic Day and during the sloganeering, she had an argument with a Dalit student and she said, 'You people will always remain below us.'”
When contacted by The Mooknayak, the matron of the Sanghamitra hostel defended the accused girl inmates and stated, "I also respect Babasaheb but as I was also present at the puja, and the girls did not say anything insulting towards Dr. B.R. Ambedkar."
Meanwhile, as the administration went on a weekend hiatus on Saturday, the students demanding justice decided to forego their break and continue their protest by camping outside Ambedkar Bhawan to demand justice.It is hoped that the administration will come to a resolution to this impasse in the near future.