Agra, Nov 22 (IANS): UP deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, on Friday, came out in support of Feroz Khan, the Muslim professor whose appointment has triggered off protests at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
This is the first time that a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government has spoken on the controversy that is raging in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency since the past one fortnight.
Dinesh Sharma, who was in Agra to attend an ABVP programme, said that those protesting against the appointment of a Muslim teacher in the Sanskrit faculty were not doing the right thing.
"Teachers do not have any religion. Students can always raise questions about the appointment process, whether merit has been compromised in the selection process of the teacher. But students cannot raise questions about the religion of teachers," he said.
Sharma, who also holds the higher education portfolio, said he would speak to the BHU vice chancellor Prof Rakesh Bhatnagar and inquire about the development that is taking place at BHU.
The deputy chief minister recalled his own student days and said that one Waliullah Khan had taught him Sanskrit when he was studying at the Government Jubilee Inter College, Lucknow.
"Recently, I felicitated Waliullah Khan Sir at a function held in my school. It was such an emotional moment for me to honour own teacher who shaped my life," he said.
Interestingly, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has extended its support to the protesting students.
Meanwhile, the protesting students who had promised to end their stir on Friday, took a u-turn and burnt effigies on the campus to reiterate their demand.
"There is no question of ending the dharna until our demand is accepted by the BHU administration. We only want Feroz Khan to be shifted to some other faculty," said Shubham Tiwari, a research scholar at the faculty of Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan (SVDV) of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the leaders of the protest.
A group of students has been staging a dharna against the appointment of Feroz Khan as assistant professor in the SVDV faculty since November 7. They have reiterated that their agitation will continue unless action is taken in the matter.
The BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh had earlier claimed that the students would call off their stir after talks with the BHU administration and classes would resume from Friday.