Prof removed from association post after ABVP feet-touching incident

The Regional Government University Professors’ Association alleged that Professor Dr Dinesh Gupta defamed the gravity of the profession by touching ABVP activists’ feet, at a college in Madhya Pradesh

Prof removed from association post after  ABVP feet-touching incident

Kashif Kakvi

A day after an upset senior professor of Mandsaur’s Rajiv Gandhi PG College touched the feet of RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad students after they forced him to apologise, the Regional Government University Professors’ Association removed him from the post of association’s secretary. The association alleged that Professor Dr Dinesh Gupta defamed the gravity of the profession by touching ABVP activists’ feet.

Miffed after being dubbed ‘anti-national’ by the group of ABVP students, Gupta of Mandsaur’s Rajiv Gandhi PG College had touched their feet when he asked them not to raise slogans outside his classroom and forced him to apologise.

The association not only removed Professor Dinesh Gupta but also Dr RK Sohoni, the principal of Rajiv Gandhi PG College, for backing professor Gupta. Sohoni was District Head of the professor’s association in Mandsaur.

When contacted, the regional head of the Professors’ Association Kailash Tyagi said, “Both the professors (Dr Gupta and Dr Sohoni) have defamed the dignity of the professors, so, the association decided to remove them from all posts.” Tyagi further said, “If the students were raising slogans inside the college premises and misbehaving with the professors, then, they should have called the police. Touching feet was not a solution and it has diluted the gravity of the profession.”

Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja targeted the professor’s association for removing Gupta and Sohoni. “Instead of standing with them, the association has removed the professors for standing against injustice. Association is acting like a government agency,” said Saluja.

Hours after the incident, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had taken on ABVP and BJP on Twitter. "A teacher was insulted by student leaders of ruling party in Mandsaur. A professor is touching the feet of the students who are threatening them. What kind of sacraments is being followed in the country where teachers are regarded as God. What kind of treatment is this?" Rahul had tweeted.

“Instead of standing with them, the association has removed the professors for standing against injustice. Association is acting like a government agency,” said Congress media coordinator Narendra Saluja

Background of the incident at Rajiv Gandhi PG College, Mandsaur

On September 27, in Mandsaur’s Rajiv Gandhi PG College, Professor Dr Dinesh Gupta was taking a class when a group of ABVP activist entered inside the college premises, chanting slogans aloud. The activists were on their way to submit a memorandum to the principal to protest delay in announcement of results of B.Sc fourth semester exams. Jolted by the loud noise, Dr Gupta asked protestors not to raise slogans as he was facing difficulty in teaching due to the noise.

The protestors did not like professor Gupta’s interruption and the activists allegedly called him an “anti-national” because he stopped them from saying ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. They allegedly threatened to file a police complaint for his “unpatriotic” act if he don’t apologise.

Upset with their threat, Professor Gupta started running after ABVP activists to touch their feet. A video that emerged on September 27 showed Dr Gupta, apparently upset, running after the ABVP activists. Later that day, he applied for three days leave, left home and switched off his phone. In another video, Dr Gupta is heard saying that he is more patriotic than ABVP activists and “will chant patriotic slogans not once but thousand times, but not at their instance.’’

In another video, Dr Gupta is heard saying that he is more patriotic than ABVP activists and “will chant patriotic slogans not once but thousand times, but not at their instance’’

Speaking to media, Principal Sohoni said Dr Gupta was not at fault. He said Dr Gupta was upset over the developments and applied for three-days leave because he felt humiliated.

ABVP activist Pawan Sharma said Dr Gupta’s act of touching students’ feet was “a publicity stunt”, claiming Gupta could have stopped the class and let them pass. Sharma and other ABVP activists denied that they made Dr Gupta apologise but insisted that it was their right to raise patriotic slogans and anyone who stopped them risked being called “unpatriotic”.

Mandsaur BJP MLA Yashpal Singh Sisodiya claimed the incident was not as big as it was being made out to be. Sisodiya said there is no video footage yet that proves that ABVP activists made Dr Gupta apologise. “I am trying to get the students to apologise if they are at fault. Or to get him (Dr Gupta) to pardon the students.’’

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