New Delhi: Five people, including two Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) office bearers, have been arrested for attacking a chemistry professor at the Krantiguru Shaymji Krishna Verma Kachchh University in Bhuj.
Professor Girin Baxi, the head of the chemistry department, was attacked on Tuesday, allegedly by members and supporters of the ABVP (students’ wing of the RSS), and ‘a black substance’ was thrown at his face, Indian Express reported. They also reportedly paraded him around the registrar’s room and gheraoed the vice-chancellor’s room for almost an hour.
The ABVP was alleging a discrepancy in the university’s electoral rolls. “They claimed that voter registration forms submitted by ABVP supporters were selectively rejected by Prof Baxi. However, prima facie, their claim was found to be baseless as all the forms were rejected as per the rules. Nonetheless, we had scheduled a hearing on the issue at 4.30 pm on Tuesday. But the ABVP supporters became aggressive and attacked Prof Baxi,” vice-chancellor Chandrasinh Jadeja told the newspaper.
Baxi had been asked to prepare the voters’ list for elections to the senate of the university, which are to be held on July 22.
Police inspector Vikram Kothiya told Indian Express that all of the accused in the case are associated with the ABVP. “They stormed into Prof Baxi’s classroom and demanded explanation why some forms were rejected. When the professor asked them to wait outside and informed them that a hearing was scheduled in the evening, the assailants dragged him out of the classroom and threw some chemical on his face. They, then paraded him to the chamber of university registrar. They also threatened the registrar that he too would face the same fate if their demands were not met,” said Kothiya.
Classes in 45 colleges affiliated with the university were suspended on Wednesday as the teachers were on strike, demanding immediate arrest of the accused. “We went on a strike to show solidarity with Prof Baxi. The incident has created a wrong impression in the society, and the incident is condemnable. We also wanted to draw attention of the authorities that administrative work is not the primary job of teachers in the universities. Principals of colleges affiliated to KSKVKU condemned the incident and the colleges remained closed,” Mahesh Thakkar, president of Kachchh University Teachers Association told the Indian Express.
The five arrested were Ram Gadhvi, Tejas Pavagadhi, Ravi Gadhvi, Kiritsinh Jadeja and Dhruv Joshi. Ram is joint secretary of Gujarat state unit of the ABVP and Ravi is secretary of Adipur city unit.
The ABVP claimed that its members were being booked under false charges. “We condemn the incident. State ABVP leaders were not aware of any such plan, and the behaviour of some of our workers is unacceptable. But the state government should also think as to why ABVP workers behaved in that manner. Their repeated pleas seeking explanation over rejection of forms had fallen on deaf ears. Secondly, it was not an attack with dangerous weapons as per the FIR. The ABVP workers merely applied paint on the professor’s face which was lying there. We also demand that future of these students must not be affected adversely,” Nikhil Methiya, secretary of the ABVP’s Gujarat unit, told Indian Express.