Actor and former BJP MP Paresh Rawal has condemned the ongoing lockout by students at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) over the appointment of a Muslim professor in the Sanskrit faculty, saying he is "stunned by the protest" against Firoze Khan.
"Stunned by the protest against professor Feroze Khan. What has language to do with religion? Irony is professor Feroze has done his masters and PhD in Sanskrit (sic)," Paresh Rawal tweeted.
A group of 30-odd students of Sanskrit literature have been sitting outside the office of BHU vice-chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar for 12 days, protesting the appointment of Firoze Khan as an assistant professor. Outside his office, students have been reciting hymns and even carried out a yagna, saying they would not budge till their demands are met.
Stunned by the protest against professor Feroz Khan !what language has to do with Religion!?!?!? Irony is professor Feroz has done his masters and PhD in Sanskrit !!! For Heavens sake stop this god damn idiocy !— Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) November 19, 2019
Paresh Rawal condemned the protests in another tweet: By same logic great singer late Shri Mohammad Rafi ji should not have sung any bhajans and Naushad Saab should not have composed it."
By same logic great singer late Shri Mohammad Rafi ji should not have sung any BHAJANS and Naushad Saab should not have composed it !!!!— Paresh Rawal (@SirPareshRawal) November 19, 2019
The university administration has rallied behind Professor Khan, saying he is the most suitable candidate for the job and that all procedures were followed during the appointment.
The university has issued statements twice in the last week, saying it is "committed to achieving the objectives of the BHU in providing equal educational and teaching opportunities to everyone irrespective of religion".
Professor Firoze Khan hasn't been seen at the university since his appointment, multiple calls and messages to his mobile number went unanswered.
Professor Khan is originally from Rajasthan. His father also studied Sanskrit and sings bhajans at a temple near his locality, according to a report in the Times of India.
A professor at the university, meanwhile, has now claimed that the faculty at the university wing is involved in instigating the protests and has questioned why classes are not being restarted. "A majority of the (protesting) students are associated with ABVP, Hindu Mahasabha and Hindu Vahini. I believe that faculty members have a role because as per the updates, girl students at the hostel was asked by professors to sit there (at the protest)," Professor MP Ahirwar told NDTV.