A controversial tweet by a Jamia Millia Islamia professor stating that he had "failed 15 non-Muslim students" in an exam led to a flurry of criticism, prompting the university to suspend him and order an inquiry against him on Thursday.
Professor Abrar Ahmed, however, said his tweet had been "misunderstood" and he had posted it as a "satire" on how minorities are allegedly being "targeted" by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
"All my students r (are) passed except 15 non muslims, who've to re-appear #CAA. If you protest #CAAProtests, I have 55 students in my favour #caasupport. Majority will teach U lesson if protest not ends #riot. Due to #corona your symbols of protest be erased. I wonder why they hate me?" Ahmed said in a tweet on Wednesday.
He later deleted the tweet.
Jamia on Thursday said it had suspended Mr Ahmed for inciting communal disharmony.
"Dr. Abrar Ahmad, Asst Professor of @jmiu_official tweeted in public domain as to failing 15 non-muslim students in an exam. This is a serious misconduct inciting communal disharmony under CCS CONDUCT RULES. The university suspends him pending inquiry. @DrRPNishank @HRDMinistry," the university said in a tweet.
In a social media post, Mr Ahmed said his tweet was "misinterpreted" and "misunderstood".
"It was a satire, parody, a co-relation to explain how Minorities are being targeted by CAA and it would as bad as a teacher saying that all minority students are failed and have to reappear," he claimed.
He added that no such examination had been conducted during this session and all students had passed in the exams held in the previous semester.
Mr Ahmed said, "The only mistake I have done is to accommodate so many concepts in so less words (Twitter limit), and this satire or sarcasm has been taken in sense that was not intended."
He said he has been teaching for over 12 years and no student has ever complained of discrimination against him. "Now, since the university has ordered an enquiry in this issue, everything will be clear soon," he added.
The Citizenship Amendment Act allows easier citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis and Jains who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before 2015 to escape religious persecution there.
Those opposing the CAA contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is intended to target Muslims in India.
However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted religious minorities from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away anyone's citizenship.