After 2 weeks days of her resignation, voices are now coming out in support of Rashmi Samant, the Oxford student who was forced to resign from the post of president-elect of Oxford University Student Union on February 17. Within two days of her winning the election, her old posts were circulated on social media platforms defaming her. She was bullied, threatened and ridiculed for being a Hindu.
Amidst all the hate she had to face, there was one post that was a stark example of the kind of hatred and discrimination centred around Samant’s Hindu identity. The post was made by one of the Faculty members at Oxford, identified as Dr Abhijit Sarkar. In his long post against Samant on Instagram, he showcased his bigoted Hinduphobic nature and ranted how someone who follows Sanatan Dharma should not be allowed to become the leader of the student union.
Sarkar shared Samant’s photograph with her parents with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ batch and alleged that it was Islamophobic. He also alleged that her campaign was funded by Indians. Towards the end of his post, he wrote, “Very glad to see that she has been forced to resign within 2 days after her election ❤. Tell Zee News that Oxford students are still not ready for “Sanatani” president.”
In the particularly vile post, Sarkar accused Rashmi of being Islamophobic by alleging that she came from coastal Karnataka, which the faculty member termed as “a bastion of Islamophobic far-right forces”.
“…Far-right Desi forces hate White people and Western modernity because they want to reinstate Sanatan Hindu “culture” with its inherent caste-based tortures and the most violent form of patriarchy. Of course, they are always ready to destroy statues of non-Hindutva people, be it Muslims or Christians or liberal Hindus,” the post read.
Reaction from netizens
Netizens have come forward in support of Samant and demanded action against Sarkar. Alpesh B. Patel, former Visiting Fellow at Oxford, said in a tweet, “I find faculty exhibiting views like this overtly against my faith indeed any faith, obscene offensive and probably criminal incitement to hatred. No Vice-Chancellor should permit this.”
@UniofOxford as a former Visiting Fellow at Oxford I find faculty exhibiting views like this overtly against my faith indeed any faith, obscene offensive and probably criminal incitement to hatred. No Vice Chancellor should permit this. pic.twitter.com/kxEwyGsf0k— Alpesh B. Patel (@alpeshbp) March 1, 2021
English Bahen, a vlogger, urged Oxford University to take action against Sarkar and said, “As a former DPhil student at Oxford, I am appalled to read the views of Faculty member Abhijit Sarkar about my Hindu religion and also his obscene words of hatred against a young Hindu student. Abhijit is instrumenting Hindu Genocide.”
@UniofOxford, as a former DPhil student at Oxford, I am appalled to read the views of Faculty member Abhijit Sarkar about my Hindu religion and also his obscene words of hatred against a young Hindu student— English बहन (@English_bahen) March 2, 2021
Abhijit is instrumenting Hindu Genocide. You must take severest action https://t.co/00bk7lOWWT
Sanjay Dixit, former IAS and author, called Sarkar a “mentally enslaved Hindu hater Modiphobe who led the campaign to oust the newly elected Oxford Student’s Union President Rashmi Samant.”
Introducing a mentally enslaved Hindu hater Modiphobe who led the campaign to oust the newly elected Oxford Student’s Union President Rashmi Samant – look at the kind of research he does. Blames those who distributed famine relief but not the British who created 1942-43 famine https://t.co/amQPFXZUca— Sanjay Dixit ಸಂಜಯ್ ದೀಕ್ಷಿತ್ संजय दीक्षित (@Sanjay_Dixit) March 1, 2021
The trend #DismissAbhijitSarkar was shared by many on social media, urging the Oxford University to sack the hateful person.
If you read the last line in this Insta post, this prof from Oxford University is openly saying that a Sanatani cannot be President of Oxford Univ Students Union. Please help to trend #DismissAbhijitSarkar pic.twitter.com/GyZPlXHe4F— Sahana Singh (@singhsahana) March 3, 2021
Sarkar has a history of making Hinduphobic comments
This was not the first time Sarkar had made vile Hinduphobic comments on social media.
On February 16, he shared a post in Bengali with Goddess Saraswati photo in it and wrote, “I remember when I was a kid I broke several Saraswati idols by thrashing them on the floor. I have been aggressively anti-religion from childhood you see.”