New Delhi, Nov 21 : Amid the standoff at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) over the appointment of a Muslim professor, Firoze Khan, in the Sanskrit department, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday came out in support for Dr Khan and said the government and university should protect his constitutional right.
"Our languages and culture are our specialty, our strength. It is written in Sanskrit language itself, sarv bhavantu sukhinah, sarv santu niramaya. Sanskrit language has vastness. The constitution of our country has vastness. Any teacher can teach Sanskrit in a university. The state government and the university should protect this constitutional right", the Congress leader tweeted in Hindi.
The controversy erupted two weeks before a section of students started protest in front of Vice Chancellor's office, demanding the removal of Dr Khan.
According to the protesting students, Dr Khan can't teach them Sankrit because he is a Muslim. The VC and other officials, however, have rejected the demand and made clear that the selection committee has followed all the procedures regarding his appointment. Earlier in the day BSP chief Mayawati has also supported Dr Khan and alleged that "the indecisive attitude of the government and administration is giving unnecessary importance to the controversy" over the appointment of Dr Khan.
"The controversy arising out of some people linking education with the extreme politics of religion and caste cannot be justified," Mayawati tweeted in Hindi. In another tweet, the former UP Chief Minister said, "Appointment of a highly suitable Muslim Sanskrit scholar by BHU as its teacher will be considered as giving proper patronage to talent. No one should be allowed to do anything which is demoralising in this regard. It would be better if the government pays proper attention to this immediately."
Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor has also supported the appointment of Dr Khan and said, "Is this what our country has come to? Any true Sanskritist would be proud of people of any religion mastering this ancient language." (UNI)