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Hindu students protest appointment of Muslim professor at Indian university

Anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination is on the rise in India. [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2019

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Discrimination and crimes against Muslims have increased in India since the right-wing Narendra Modi-led government came into power.
Controversy erupted at an Indian university when students opposed the appointment of a teacher to the Sanskrit department allegedly because he was Muslim, Indian media outlet The Hindu reported.

The incident took place at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The appointment of Firoz Khan as an assistant professor in the Sanskrit literature department at BHU was met with opposition by a group of students, dozens of whom staged a sit-in near the university's Vice-Chancellor's residence on Thursday. They demanded that Khan's appointment be cancelled.

[also read: India's Muslims anxiously await Supreme Court verdict over destroyed mosque]

Shubham Tiwary, a Ph.D scholar leading the protest, referred to Khan as an 'unfit person', alleging that he was appointed to his position after the faculty received a bribe.

BHU has not buckled under the pressure, claiming that Khan was appointed "unanimously" to his position because he was the "most qualified candidate".

The university said that the students tried to obstruct the meeting of the screening committee and acknowledged that they staged the protest over the selection of a "Muslim candidate".

Ram Narayan Dwivedi, an associate professor in the department, said that the selection "took place as per the rules", and condemned the "disturbance" caused by the students.

BHU has made headlines recently because of a resident doctors strike following an attack on a junior resident doctor by a patient's attendees. 

Discrimination against Muslims

Discrimination and crimes against Muslims have increased in India recently, since the right-wing Narendra Modi-led government came into power. It is well known in India that Muslims are not allowed to buy houses in some neighbourhoods in major cities like Mumbai because of their faith. 

Data shows that Uttar Pradesh has seen the worst communal violence across India, with 23 hate-related deaths reported by Indian data analyst factchecker.in.

Uttar Pradesh's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, is notorious for encouraging violence against India's largest minority, having previously called Muslims a 'green virus' and claimed that the family of a man who was killed for slaughtering a cow should face criminal charges.

The central government has further antagonised Muslims by implementing the National Registry of Citizens in the eastern state of Assam, claiming it is to weed out illegal immigrants.

So far, close to two million people have been stripped of their citizenship and sent to detention camps. Upon its implementation, India's home minister Amit Shah has likened illegal Muslims to 'termites', asking for them to be thrown into the sea.

The most controversial decision of the Modi government has been to revoke the semi-autonomous status of India's only Muslim-majority state, Kashmir.

Breaking with years of precedent, the government on August 5 this year revoked the area's constitutionally mandated autonomy, placed the region in a lockdown, blacked out communications and jailed local politicians.

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