A professor who was allegedly forced by members of a right-wing students' group to apologise on his knees for a Facebook post critical of the BJP amid recent India-Pakistan hostilities has filed a police complaint into the incident.
The professor, Sandeep Wathar, seemed calm as he recalled the incident that occurred in Home Minister MB Patil's home district of Vijayapura on Saturday. "I have filed a complaint," he confirmed. "I stayed at home over the weekend, which were my off days, feeling quite safe."
Although Mr Wathar admitted that his post could be considered "derogatory", it was the only one of its kind on his social media page. "People can go through to my entire Facebook history to see if I am really anti-national," he said.
However, Home Minister Patil -- who runs the college where the professor was employed -- found the incident condemnable. "This kind of moral policing should not be done. The police are there. The law is there. If anybody has posted anything, even if it is against Bharat or our army, we can ask the Superintendent of Police to inquire and make a case," he said.
A video of the incident, which showed the professor kneeling with his hands folded in the midst of students calling for his suspension, was widely circulated on social media. Policemen were also seen in the clip, but they did not seem to be going out of their way to intervene.
Mr Wathar claimed that the incident did not anger him. "I am not afraid, and I am not angry. I had to apologise at that time... there was no other way around that situation. I did not want the college to be stoned," he said, indentifying the students who harassed him as "diploma students who may have just passed Class 10".
The state BJP, however, defended the students' right to assert their nationalism. "The professor has to take note of the deep sentiments of our army and the people of India in times of crises. You cannot make any statement praising Pakistan or something that negatively portrays India," said party leader Vivek Reddy.
The professor, in his post, had reportedly criticised the BJP and warned that further escalation in tensions between the two countries could result in a situation that puts "millions of lives" at risk.
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.