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Lucknow: Professor Ravi Kant Chandan of Lucknow University (LU) is running from pillar to post to try and register an FIR against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members who allegedly attacked him on Tuesday. The Uttar Pradesh police, however, appear to be giving him the cold shoulder.
Even six days after the attack on the professor on the LU campus, the police are yet to register an FIR against the accused. Interestingly, the police have registered an FIR against Chandan based on a complaint from the ABVP, for his remarks on the ongoing dispute around the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
Chandan, who teaches in the Hindi department, sent a handwritten complaint about the incident to the local Hasanganj police station soon after the mayhem. He told the police that his life, along with his family’s, was under threat. The professor named a total of 12 people, including ABVP members, in his complaint. Despite the seriousness of his allegations, the police did not register an FIR on the matter. Instead, Chandan was made the subject of an investigation.
The police took action against the professor on the complaint of ABVP state committee member Aman Dubey. An FIR was registered against the professor under the various sections of the Indian Penal Code – Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred, or ill-will between classes) – and Section 66 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008.
When the Hasanganj police appeared unwilling to act on his complaint, Chandan went to meet more senior police officers, who also ignored him. He said that he met with Lucknow Police Commissioner D.K. Thakur and informed him of the attack on him as well as the threats he and his family were facing from the right-wing students’ union. In his complaint, he also mentioned that miscreants had passed casteist slurs against him, as he is a Dalit.
According to the police commissioner, there were some drafting errors in his complaint, which is why the complaint has not been registered. The police will consider registering the complaint when the professor comes back after re-drafting it, the commissioner added.
Over the phone, Chandan told The Wire that he was very disappointed with the police’s attitude and that he would now go to court to file an FIR against the perpetrators. He added that the Azad Samaj Party chief, Chandrashekar Azad, had spoken to him over the phone and extended support.
The Hindi teacher, who is a vocal critic of the right-wing, also said in his complaint, “I am from the Dalit community, and that fact is the reason my voice is being quelled.”
ABVP leader Aman Dubey, who complained against Chandan, told The Wire, “ABVP has protested against Professor Chandan as he tried to whitewash the crimes committed by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb in Kanshi.” Dubey also alleged that the professor insulted Hindu priests in a debate broadcast on a news portal.
However, Chandan believes that the ABVP has been creating chaos on the university premises since Tuesday by posting an edited video of him on social media platforms. During a discussion on the Gyanvapi mosque-Kanshi Vishwanath Mandir issue, he recounted the story from Feathers and Stones by Patabhi Sitaramaiya.
Alleged ABVP members from LU, along with some outsiders, protested against Chandan on Tuesday afternoon. They took out a protest march from gate number 1 of the campus to the proctor’s office. They allegedly raised provocative slogans like “Desh ke gaddaron ko… Goli maaro s***** ko.” A video of the protest went viral widely on social media.
After reaching the proctor’s office, they allegedly attacked Chandan, who was there to talk to them. But the police and LU staff protected the professor. Before the alleged attack, Chandan gave students the reference of the book from which he quoted the history of the Gyanvapi Masjid and Kanshi Vishwanath Mandir, which caused anger among right-wing students.
The Wire contacted the LU administration over the issue, since they too had not taken any action against the students who created mayhem on campus. Durgesh Srivastava, who is in the history department, stated, “LU administration received a complaint from Professor Ravi Kant against some students on Friday. …The university is closed for a few days. When it reopens, we will initiate action after identifying the miscreants.”