Indian diaspora organisations in the United Kingdom have written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over concerns related to hatred against Hindus in connection with the Oxford University controversy. The groups have raised concerns over the lack of against Abhijit Sarkar for his bigoted views directed at Rashmi Sawant.
“Dr Abhijit Sarkar, a faculty member, instigated hate-filled trolls on social media against her which led her to go into hiding and finally leave the country. Dr Sarkar continued stalking Rashmi on social media, attacking her and her family for their Hindu faith and beliefs which led her to severe depression and hospitalisation,” says the letter.
“Thames Valley Police should seriously investigate and charge him for a hate crime. Dr Sarkar has come to the UK on an Exceptional Talent visa. Home Office should review his visa status in view of his racist and hateful actions on social media,” it adds.
The signatories of the letter, numbering 119, include Friends of India Society International (FISI) UK, Akshay Patra Foundation UK, Hindu Council UK, Hindu Forum of Europe, Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK and National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT) among others.
Meanwhile, an Oxford University spokesperson has said in a statement, “An independent investigation into these online comments, which have been made from a private, non-University account, is ongoing and we must allow time for this formal process to be followed.”
“We never comment on individual cases because of the importance of not prejudicing an investigation as well as protecting the privacy of those involved, but the University thoroughly investigates all formal complaints that our harassment or equality policies have been breached,” the statement said.
“When doing so, the investigation process is launched without delay, and, when appropriate, independent investigators are appointed. Cases are resolved as swiftly as is possible to ensure equitable treatment of all parties,” the spokesperson added. The spokesperson also said that Oxford University does not condone statements that constitute harassment.
Following Sawant’s resignation as the president of the Oxford University Students’ Union, Hinduphobic rants of Abhijit Sarkar had gone viral on social media. In one such viral post, he had shared a photo of Goddess Saraswati 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.” In others, he attacked Rashmi Sawant directly.
Netizens had called for him to be dismissed.