Rishi Tiwari, a Hindu student of Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, has alleged that a student mob at the university has harassed and discriminated against him for his religious identity.
Rishi alleged that he had faced discrimination at the Azim Premji University since his induction into the institution in 2020. A student of MA Development, Rishi also stated that he had become the target of the professors and other staff alike for being an Alma Mater of the Benares Hindu University, Varanasi, looked down on as the bastion of “Right Wing” and Hinduism by them.
In his complaint letter, Rishi categorically asserts that students of the Muslim University demeaned him for not compromising his beliefs and ideology. He highlights how a minor spat between him and a Muslim student spiraled into a ‘Hindu v/s Muslim’ issue on the campus. The student cabal against Rishi also took to social media and targeted him for his religious views and ideologies.
He also recounts that on his way to the hostel on May 1, at 8:45 PM, he was surrounded by a mob of students belonging to the “Islamist and Leftists ideology” and was verbally abused and physically assaulted by them. Instead of giving him any support, some professors protested against Rishi and demanded that he be expelled.
The lobby against Rishi accused him of throwing food at the Muslim student and spitting on his face. But Rishi stated that there is a constant effort to paint him ‘Hindu plaintiff, Islamophobic, Sanghi, and staunch Hindu’. On May 2, they filed a complaint against him before the Director of the School of Development. Without being granted a hearing to provide his clarification, Rishi was indefinitely suspended from the classes and hostel.
Rishi hails from an economically backward family from Ballan village in Banda, Uttar Pradesh. He has already spent ample time and resources to complete this degree at Azim Premji University. He was preparing for his last semester. However, now being suspended indefinitely from the university, Rishi’s future and chances of employment are under threat.
Targetted for opposing defamation of Hinduism by guest lecturer
Apart from this harassment and following suspension, Rishi was targeted for his faith and political views multiple times before. Last year, French Political Scientist Christophe Jafrellote was invited as a guest lecturer during a university-organized seminar. Rishi told that the session quickly took to ‘defaming the BJP government and Hindu Dharma’. When he and his friends asked the lecturer some questions, they were labeled Sanghi and blamed for being Hindus.
The session facilitator also filed a complaint against Rishi and his friends, and the university set up a special committee to investigate the issue.
“If I’m having faith in my identity and belief in the Hindu religion, it isn’t a crime. Having ideological differences doesn’t mean that I have to pay so much in the form of my degree and job. No justice is being done to me by the university,” held Rishi.
Rebuked for celebrating Diwali; hurts non-Hindu feelings.
But this wasn’t the first time he was humiliated for being a Hindu. The university reportedly has no vacations for any Hindu festivals. When Rishi and some of his other Hindu friends celebrated Diwali on the campus last year, they were reprimanded for hurting the sentiments of those who do not believe in the Hindu faith.
Can a Hindu youth not celebrate his religious festivals in the Azim Premji University Campus? How can celebrating Hindu festivals without harming others affect the sentiment of the Non-Hindus on the campus? Instead of humiliating the Hindu students for celebrating their festivals, shouldn’t the college administration ask the non-Hindus to show some tolerance towards the Hindus?
This brings us to the same conclusion. In this country, tolerance is expected only from the Hindus. One institution at a time, but the Hindu’s right to be a Hindu is curbed. The allegations against Azim Premji University don’t auger well for the Hindu society in Bharat, should this become a pattern adopted by other institutions.