New Delhi: Because of a Facebook post in which he allegedly criticises the BJP government at the Centre for creating a war-like situation while praising Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for his conduct during the escalating tension between the two countries, a professor of civil engineering on Sunday was reportedly made to kneel and apologise to ABVP and BJP activists in Vijayapura district of Karnataka.
According to the Indian Express, ABVP activists and BJP workers have demanded the suspension of Sandeep Wathar, professor at Vachana Pitamaha Dr P.G. Halakatti College of Engineering and Technology. The Facebook posts have since been deleted.
The institution is owned by the Karnataka home minister and Congress leader, M.B. Patil and is run by the Bijapur Lingayat Development Education Society.
The professor has not been suspended yet, but an order will be issued on Tuesday, when the college re-opens, according to principal V.P. Huggi. The professor has reportedly switched off his phone and is unreachable.
Against the backdrop of strained diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan over the last couple of weeks, Wathar – in two separate posts on Facebook – allegedly questioned the BJP and right-wing activists over the latest round of escalating tension with Pakistan.
According to the Indian Express, he stated in one post: “Who sounds more intelligent in all this? You… bhakts. You will [be] the reason for [the] destruction of millions of lives if this tension escalates. BJP… absolutely zero shame.”
A group of people on Saturday, thought to be members of the ABVP, staged a protest on the college premises demanding an apology from the professor and condemned his Facebook posts, reportedly calling them ‘anti-national’.
BJP spokesperson Vivek Reddy told the Indian Express: “It is an attempt to break unity of the country and praise an enemy country.”
According to superintendent of police Prakash Nikam, the protestors have not lodged a formal complaint with the police The New Indian Express reported. “I have directed the deputy superintendent of police to investigate the incident and submit a report,” he added.
There is also a video which has reportedly gone viral, in which Sandeep is being made to kneel down and apologise. He can be heard saying, “I won’t repeat it in future, forgive me for my Facebook post.”