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Protest at BHU after V-C attends iftar at girls’ hostel

A few students at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on Wednesday evening protested vice-chancellor Sudhir K Jain’s decision to attend an iftar function at the varsity’s girls’ hostel by burning Jain’s effigy. The protesting students, supported by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), alleged that Jain had “started a new practice of attending iftars”, a charge the BHU administration denied saying the practice of the V-C attending an iftar at the girls’ hostel has been a tradition at the varsity.

“This is not the first time a V-C has attended an iftar on campus. It happens every year. Due to Covid protocol, it could not happen in the last two years. Our campus is secular and it is not a new practice at all,” BHU PRO Dr Rajesh Singh said.

A tweet by the BHU official handle said, “In the holy month of Ramzan, Roza Iftar was organised at Women’s College located at Banaras Hindu University, in which Vice Chancellor Prof Sudhir Kumar Jain also participated. Along with the vice-chancellor, teachers and students of the Women’s College broke their fast and had iftar.” Another tweet said that the V-C interacted with the students, asked them about their problems and exchanged views.

Adhokshaj Pandey, state working committee member of the RSS’s student wing ABVP and a BHU student, said that the protest was supported by the ABVP. “The ABVP was part of the protest and we felt that the move to attend an iftar was wrong. What if someone in the future starts a Navratri party in the hostel. Will the V-C attend it? This  never happened in the past,” said Pandey, who is a student at the Jyotish department of BHU.

A BHU official said that only a handful of students attended the protest. “These are students who are looking for publicity and are opportunists. They have no ideology. They are doing some diploma course from the varsity and their only objective is to ruin the peaceful atmosphere in the varsity,” said the official.

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