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MP: On ABVP Complaint, FIR Against Muslim Principal, Profs for Buying ‘Controversial’ Book

The principal says he took charge in 2019 and the book was bought in 2014. After RSS objections in 2021, publisher omitted objectionable part and reprinted. The writer tendered an apology. Yet, police lodged an FIR.
MP: On ABVP Complaint, FIR Against Muslim Principal, Profs for Buying ‘Controversial’ Book

Representational Image. Image Courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons

Bhopal: Two days after the Indore Police lodged an FIR (first information report) against the former principal of Indore New Law University, a Muslim, in connection with a ‘controversial’ book that allegedly encourages religious fundamentalism in the campus, he said that he and four Muslim professors, were being targeted because of 'religious identity'.

A day after accusing four Muslim professors of the univeristy for allegedly promoting Islamic culture and ‘love-jihad’ in the campus, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing -- Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) -- protested inside the campus alleging that the book ‘Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System’ by Dr Farhat Khan, contained objectionable remarks against Hindus, the RSS, as well as Union government and the Army.

The former principal Inamur Rahman, however, said the students were demanding his resignation by making “baseless allegations and raising derogatory slogans” outside his office. Saddened with this, he resigned on Saturday and broke down in front of the media.

Speaking with Newsclick, Rahman said: "I took charge as principal in August 2019, while the book was purchased in 2014 by the then principal Sudha Silawat, who is a kin of a sitting minister in the ruling government, on the recommendation of three faculty members -- Dr. JK Jain, professor Praveen Kumar Choudhary and Professor NK Pagariya."

Showing a receipt of the ‘controversial’ book which mentioned the purchasing date, he said: "I have nothing to do with its placement in the library. The FIR against me is unfortunate. I have been booked but not the library head who is responsible.”

Rahman’s resignation came two days after an ABVP worker from Indore, Dipendra Thakur, in a memorandum to the college principal, questioned the ‘high’ number of Muslim faculty members in the university. He also accused the college administration for “promoting Muslims and Islamic culture” in the campus. He then went on to allege that four Muslim teachers were “promoting love-jihad,” (taking girl students on party and restaurants) and promoting religious fundamentalism” in the campus.

Acting swiftly on the complaint, principal Rahman recommended a probe led by a retired district court judge and urged him to submit the report in the next five days. The principal also removed the named professors from academic work for five days till the investigation was underway.

"Only four faculty members are Muslims out of 28. Even though I initiated an inquiry and barred all the named professors from college till the investigation was complete, the ABVP students raised objectionable and hurtful slogans against me demanding resignation” he said while breaking down over the phone.

To find out the facts behind the ‘controversial’ book, Newsclick reached out to the Indore-based publication, Amar Law Publication, which published the book.

Speaking over phone, publisher Hitesh Khetrapal (43)  said: "We published that book in 2014. But in 2021, I received a call from an advocate who was speaking on behalf of RSS and raised objections on some parts of the book. We conveyed this message to the author and retrieved all the sold books sent to the institution and sent them new editions after omitting the objectionable part in 2021."

"The author also gave a written apology after the objection and the dust died down," said Khetrapal, who also shared a copy of the apology letter written by the author in March 2021.

Yet, on a complaint by an LLM student of Government New Law College and ABVP leader Lucky Adiwal, the police charged four people, including principal Rahman, under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and other Sections of the IPC.

The others named in the case registered on Saturday were author Dr Farhat Khan, publishing house Amar Law Publication and professor Mirza Mojiz Baig, police said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Rajesh Kumar Singh said the role of others was also being probed, adding that none of the four named in the case have been arrested as yet.

When asked about the allegations, Rahman said: "A dozen students associated with ABVP neither attend classes nor have paid college fee since the last two-three years. The college administration was pressuring them to clear the dues or face termination. The main complainant Dipendra Singh Thakur has dues worth Rs 30, 000. Besides, he has never attended classes nor passed any examination that he appeared in the last two years.”

"Therefore, they first targeted the four Muslim professors and then came to me to put pressure on the university administration to not ask for overdue fees and pass them in the next examination," the DCP said.

Rahman also alleged that students associated with ABVP often pass remarks on religious identity of Muslim students. "They once taunted me for Friday prayers. Office ke waqt app Jumme ke Namaz me jate hai to sarkar ka waqt barbard hota hai. But no one paid heed to their comments," he recalled.

Apart from Rahman, history professor Sohail Wani and professor Ameeq Khokhar who is a practicing lawyer at the high court, termed the allegations absolutely baseless.

(with inputs from PTI)

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