Lucknow- In an escalation of an intra-departmental dispute, the students of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University gherao-ed the Vice-Chancellor of the university on the occasion of the foundation day on January 10.
The controversy began a day ago, at the B.Tech Department of the University when the name of an unofficial group was changed to the "Ram Bhakt" group, which was objected to by some students. They argued that the university is a central university with a secular character, and any attempt to give a communal colour to the campus could be detrimental. Later, Ashish, one of the students who objected to this change, faced personal threats and abuses allegedly from members of ABVP, who also made objectionable references to Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Meanwhile, there were also reports of misbehaviour with a female Dalit student.
A group of Dalit students, including members from BAPSA and AUDSU, protested against the administration at the Ambedkar Bhawan, demanding the suspension of the guilty students, but their demands were not heard.
Action against culprits making objectionable remarks against Ambedkar was demanded. The Mooknayak spoke to Gaurav Verma, a student of LLB affiliated with BAPSA. He said, "A student from the B.Tech department was harassed by members of ABVP, and objectionable comments were made about Dr. Ambedkar when he objected to changing the name of the group to 'Ram Bhakt.' We submitted a memorandum to the proctor and conveyed our message. Later, around 30-40 armed members belonging to ABVP entered the university and tried to attack Dalit students, threatening them. We conveyed this to the proctor, who replied that this is an open campus, and anyone can enter. We have demanded action against the students who made objectionable remarks against Baba Saheb Ambedkar."
The spillover of the matter hindered the Foundation Day Celebration on Wednesday, January 10th, when the university had organized a lecture as a part of the celebration. While the Chief Guest was delivering the lecture, some students interrupted and walked out of the venue.
After the conclusion of the event, an intense scene unfolded as the Vice-Chancellor, accompanied by the guest, found themselves surrounded while exiting the venue at the School of Environmental Sciences. Filled with indignation, a group of students followed the VC and the guest to their car, strategically positioning themselves to block the passage. Their purpose was clear – an earnest desire to convey a message directly to the Vice-Chancellor.
In the midst of this impassioned standoff, the Vice-Chancellor, recognizing the urgency of the situation, acquiesced to the students' demands. The impromptu dialogue took place at the Ambedkar Bhawan, the university's administrative block, where the Vice-Chancellor listened to the concerns voiced by the students.
Ashish, the student who spoke up against changing the WhatsApp group name to 'Ram Bhakt,' shared his tough experience with the Vice-Chancellor. He explained, "After I objected, ABVP students targeted me, making disrespectful comments about Dr. Ambedkar. One day, a student verbally abused me with 'Jai Shri Ram' chants. Then, after my exam yesterday, some people harassed me with the same slogans."
Important to note, Ashish is a B.Tech student and the one opposing the name change in his department.
Similarly, a female student, ventured to the proctor's office to register a complaint about the distressing incident. However, her pursuit of resolution took an unfortunate turn when male students affiliated with ABVP allegedly misbehaved and also resorted to pushing her abruptly.
The protesting students submitted the names of 12 students affiliated with ABVP whom they want to be suspended. After hearing the students, the Vice-Chancellor assured them of action against the guilty.
Prashant Kumar Singh, a student of the Public Administration Department, said, "We sat on a dharna outside Ambedkar Bhawan in this chilly weather, but no one heard us, and only after we did all this were we heard."