A Dalit lecturer at a Varanasi university, who was dismissed from service for his post on the Hindu festival of Navratri, on Saturday claimed that he was being targeted because of his caste, The Indian Express reported.
Mithlesh Kumar Gautam was dismissed from service at the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith on Thursday after he had advised women against fasting during Navratri.
“For women, it is better to read the Constitution of India and the Hindu Code Bill instead of fasting for nine days during Navratra,” Gautam had said in his social media post, according to NDTV. “Their lives will be free from fear and slavery. Jai Bheem.”
The University had issued the removal order after receiving a complaint from the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad – the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, The Hindu reported.
In the removal order, registrar Sunita Pandey had claimed there was wide-scale anger among students against Gautam, which might impact the university’s environment.
“In view of the examination and admission process being hindered, I would like to say that under the rules of the university, Dr Gautam is discharged from his post of guest lecturer,” Pandey’s statement said. “He is also banned from entering the university premises keeping in mind its security.”
On Saturday, Gautam, who taught Indian Constitution, alleged that some Hindu outfits were against employing Dalit teachers at the university.
“In the past too, some Dalit professors were targeted similarly at the university…” Gautam told The Indian Express. “People are writing on social media that I should face criminal action. The people who complained against me wanted to beat me up, [however], I was not at the varsity.”
He also defended his social media post saying it only advised women to read the Constitution and the Hindu Code Bill.
“I was only talking about women empowerment,” he said. “If they [women] read these texts, they will become more aware.”
Gautam also alleged that he was not given a chance to explain his stand in the case. “I am facing action from the varsity because of pressure on the university administration from these Hindu outfits,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, the university’s chief proctor, Amita Singh, told the newspaper it had received complaints against Gautam in the past as well. “He was spoken to by the vice-chancellor after the earlier complaints,” Singh said.