Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on May 7, 2021 wrote a letter to Liesl Elder, senior official at the Oxford University, in order to draw attention to the harassment suffered by Rashmi Samant.
Condemning the vitriolic attack on Rashmi Samant by the varsity’s faculty member, Dr Abhijit Sarkar, the Karnataka CM wrote that such systematic targeting of Indian overseas students was a matter of grave concern and as Chief Minister, it made him worried.
Yediyurappa said that Dr Abhijit Sarkar had stalked Rashmi Samant and attacked her and her family for their Hindu faith. He also said that the attacks on her were “highly objectionable and discriminatory”. He also accused Sarkar of defaming coastal Karnataka by calling it Islamophobic.
The Karnataka CM evoked the 1981 declaration of the General Assembly of United Nations’ Human Rights Commission Art.2(1) which states that “No one would be subject to discrimination by any state, Institution, group of persons, or person on the ground of religion and other beliefs”.
The CM said that Indians are ranked second in the number of overseas (non-EU) students in the United Kingdom and also, the state of Karnataka in the year 2019 donated to the University to establish a professorship in Anthropology.
He urged the University to ensure the safety of Rashmi Samant and her family and take expeditious and stringent action against people harassing her.
The Oxford racism row
Rashmi Samant was hounded by leftists and anti-Hindu propagandists after becoming the first female Indian elect of Oxford University Student’s Union on February 11. She was forced to resign within days after being abused, bullied and targeted for being a Hindu and over her views against British colonisation.
In a coordinated attack, her old social media posts were dredged up, accusing her of being racist, anti-semitic, Islamophobic, transphobic. Besides this, Rashmi was also targeted for being a Hindu. One of the faculty members in Oxford – Dr Abhijit Sarkar had even dragged Rashmi’s parents into the controversy, attacking them for having a Lord Shri Ram display picture on their social media accounts while claiming that Rashmi’s student council elections were funded by Prime Minister Modi.
He had even 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”. Following the controversy, netizens from across the world had demanded the dismissal of Hinduphobic faculty AbhijitSarkar and had trended hashtag #DismissAbhijitSarkar on Twitter.
EAM raises the issue in Parliament, vowes to champion the fight against such intolerance
On March 15, days after the controversy erupted, the Union External Affairs Minister (EAM) had also raised the matter in the Upper House of Parliament. He had, in strong words, said that India could never ever turn its eyes away from racism and added that he would champion the fight against such intolerance.