A group of students at the Banaras Hindu University held protests outside the vice-chancellor’s house on Wednesday night after he attended an iftar party, ANI reported.

Students shouted slogans outside Vice-Chancellor Sudhir K Jain’s home in the campus, alleging that his actions were against the culture of the university. Some students also recited the hymn Hanuman Chalisa as a form of protest, NDTV reported.

The protestors burnt Jain’s effigy and accused him of engaging in politics of appeasement. A section of the students said that the vice-chancellor had organised the iftar party, but the Banaras Hindu University denied the claim.

One of the protestors, Shubham, said that the vice-chancellor was trying to impose a new tradition. “This has never happened before in the university,” he said. “He is trying to politicise the entire situation.”

Another protestor, Ashirvad Dubey, said that Jain did not listen to grievances of the student but had the time to attend an iftar party.

“The earlier VC GC Tripathi used to provide phalahar [fruits] during the [Hindu festival] Navratri fasts,” he said. “The new VC not only discouraged that practice but he is now trying to impose this new tradition. This is an anti-Hindu initiative and we condemn this.”

Dubey remarked that if Jain wanted to attend an iftar party, he could go to the Aligarh Muslim University or the Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi.

However, Assistant Information and Public Relations Officer of the university, Chander Shekher Gwari said that Jain did not organise the party.

“Students & teachers invited him and he attended as head of BHU fraternity,” he wrote in a tweet.

In a statement, the administration added that the tradition of organising iftar at the university is more than two decades old, and such events had not been held in the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Attempts to disturb the peace and academic atmosphere of Banaras Hindu University are unacceptable and condemnable,” the university said.