ABVP sets up Ram temple at UoH; students union express outrage

Hyderabad: A Ram temple was purportedly built beneath a stone edifice at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus on Sunday on the occasion of Ram Navami, causing anxiety among select students.

A group of students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and other right-wing groups allegedly painted a rock structure in saffron paint, and placed a photograph of Lord Ram on it. Saffron flags were then hoisted, and rituals were performed.

Student leaders from left parties respond:

Gopi Swami, convenor of the Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) and general secretary of the UoH students’ union while speaking to Siasat.com said, “A group of 25 to 30 people wearing saffron shawls showed up near the hostel. They then painted a rock structure saffron while Ram Navami festivities were going on the campus. There was no religious structure in this place before.”

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“We usually celebrate all festivals on the campus, be it Christmas or Eid, there is no animosity between the students. This is being done by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) to provoke the students and sentiments of the people.” he added.

Adding to the conversation, Abhishek Nandan, president of the UoH students’ union said, “ABVP doesn’t get involved in critical thinking. While it should be talking about National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), and other issues affecting the students, it is painting rocks and creating unnecessary communal tensions.”

“If students get involved, ABVP will make it a religious issue. ABVP wanted us to be provoked, but we chose to report the incident to the management instead. They are discussing the matter, and said that they would get back to us soon.”

University administration’s response:

Despite what the students union alleges, UoH registrar Devesh Nigam denied the involvement of any students’ groups.

“It is a small structure that has existed since inception. Photos of some Hindu deities were there too. On the day of Ram Navami, one or two students went there and cleaned the place, painted it in saffron colour and installed saffron flags. They had not taken our permission. So a committee has been set up to enquire into the matter. Action will be taken as per its recommendations,” Nigam said.

The student have made a swastik symbol on the structure and written ‘Om’ too. Nigam said the university has identified these students and found out that they were not associated with any group.

“Our university has a policy not to allow any permanent religious structure on the campus. But we allow celebration of religious functions. That day, we had allowed a group of students to celebrate Ram Navami in Gurubaksh Singh Maidan. That celebration was peaceful,” Nigam said.

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