Teachers, students protest seeking immediate release of DU associate professor Ratan Lal

Amid a heavy police presence, dozens of Delhi University students and teachers protested on Saturday at the College of Arts on the university’s northern campus, calling for the immediate release of Hindu College Associate Professor Ratan Lal.

He was arrested Friday night on charges of Facebook post purportedly disapproved refers to allegations of evasion It was discovered in the Gyanvapi Mosque in Varanasi.

The protest was attended by student organizations such as All India Students’ Union, Campus Front of India, Student Democratic Union, Fraternity, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan and Student Union of India. Many students and teachers who are not affiliated with any organization also attended in solidarity with Lal.

She raised slogans such as “Jai Bhim”, “Ratan Lal Ko Reha Karo (Release Ratan Lal)” and “Hindu Rashtra Par Halla Pol”. Many protesters also carried the preamble to the constitution in their own hands.

Among those present at the protest was Uma Raj, a Hindi language teacher at IP Women’s College. “Ratan Lal is a very famous teacher and Dalit thinker. I am here today to stand in solidarity with him. He has been a fierce critic of the current regime and is being punished for that. Like the way this government is running bulldozers across the country, the arrest of Ratan Lal and the FIR against Dr. Ravi Kant in Lucknow [amount to] Bulldozer [driven over] education system,” she said.

Rajiv Konwar, a Hindi language teacher at Dial Singh College, said Lal’s arrest was “unfortunate”. “The way he was arrested in the middle of the night is even more unfortunate, especially since he was willing to cooperate. He is a historian. He did not approve of a photo and did a satirical act. Some people might have problems with it, but instead of discussing and discussing, how could he be arrested for that? ? ” He said.

Also attending the protest were students whom Lal had never taught and who only knew and heard him as a Dalit thinker through his YouTube channel, Ambedkarnama.

Hardik Singh, a German bachelor’s student, said he came in solidarity because Lal had done a job “liberating and educating the masses”. This isn’t the first time someone has criticized religion. This culture is present in our history – from Buddha to Ambedkar to Periyar. Such measures are taken only when the feelings of the majority are hurt. We see every day that minorities are subjected to violence and indiscriminate killing, but no one is arrested. I’m here to express my unconditional support for him (Lal).”

Mamta Mina, a second-year LLB student, said, “This is like a dictatorship. If you say anything against the majority, you get arrested. Arresting a professor, from a prestigious university like DU, is a big problem. We demand his immediate release.”

Tuesday’s case against Lal was registered under IPC Section 153a (promotion of hostility between different groups on the basis of religion) and 295a (malicious acts intended to provoke religious sentiment) based on a complaint by a “social worker,” police said. .

On Wednesday, Lal told the Indian Express, “I didn’t expect threats and abuse from this statement. There is a long tradition of criticism in Hinduism from Phule, Ravidas and Ambedkar. Here, I didn’t even criticize it. It’s just an observation. In our country, religious sentiments are hurt by anything.” What will people do, just put a patty (bandage) on their mouths?”

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