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Bengaluru: Hindu student says Azim Premji University suspended him after targeted harassment and false accusations by Islamists and Leftists

As per sources, an online mob is also being led against Tiwari over the incident.

A student from Azim Premji University in Bengaluru has stated that he was harassed and discriminated against over his religious identity of being a Hindu by a student mob. Reportedly, the college administration has expelled him from participating in any further academic activities after he had a brawl with Muslim students over a petty issue.

According to Rishi Tiwari, since his induction into Azim Premji University in 2020 as a post-graduate student of MA Development, he has faced discrimination on the campus for being Hindu. Tiwari has been targeted by professors and other teaching staff at the institute over his alma mater – The Benares Hindu University, Varanasi, for they think it was a bastion of ‘Right Wing’ and his faith Hinduism. OpIndia has accessed the letter drafted by him complaining about the discrimination he has faced, written to the director of the institute.

In the letter, the Tiwari categorically mentions that he was humiliated by students belonging to the Muslim University because he did not compromise on his beliefs and ideology. An incident so happened that a minor spat between him and another student (who happened to be Muslim) was exaggerated as a ‘Hindu v/s Muslim’ issue on the campus. As narrated by Tiwari, he was harassed by the latter over not getting selected while the placement process in the college was on.

‘A spat that resulted in the suspension’, says Tiwari

While Rishi Tiwari was returning to his hostel, a group of students of the ‘Islamist and leftist ideology’ surrounded him, as per the letter. He notes that he was verbally abused and physically attacked by the student mob. While talking to OpIndia.com, Tiwari said, “On May 1, 2022, around 8:45 PM, 8-10 students of Islamist and Leftist idealogy surrounded me. I was verbally and physically harassed by them. The next day around 6 pm on May 2, inside the university campus, some professors and students protested against me, demanding my expulsion from the university.”

The mob in turn claimed that Tiwari threw food on the Muslim student’s face and spat on him, and allegations of physical assault were framed against him. He states that there was a concerted effort to paint him ‘Hindu plaintiff, Islamophobic, Sanghi, and staunch Hindu’. On May 2 itself, a complaint was filed before the Director of the School of Development and he was suspended without hearing his side. After May 2, Tiwari was suspended indefinitely from classes and hostels with immediate effect. Tiwari hails from Ballan village of Banda district of Uttar Pradesh.

Protests staged against Rishi Tiwari at Azim Premji University

A cabal of students had called upon the incident an act of ‘Islamophobia’. The group had started staging demonstrations against Tiwari on the campus. There were incidents of social media abuse through Instagram stories directed at him, over his political ideology.

“The way a group of universities has communalized me, I’m feeling unsafe. Even after this, not a single authority responded, and didn’t even hear anything from my side.” says the student who is in his last semester and was looking forward to getting his degree in the coming months. “Both my degree and my job are in danger. I come
from an economically backward background, and I have the responsibility for my entire family,” he appealed.

‘Targeted for asking questions’

In a colloquium organised by the University last year, French Political Scientist Christophe Jafrellote (who is known for his biased and rose-tinted understanding of Indian Politics) was called as a guest lecturer. According to Tiwari, the session quickly escalated into ‘defaming the BJP government and Hinduism’. Out of curiosity, he and his friend asked a question to Jafrellote. The facilitator of the session then filed a complaint against the students and the university organized a special committee to investigate the matter.

From that very moment, Tiwari and a couple of his friends were blamed for being Hindu and were reduced to being victims of Leftist targeting over their ideology. The students were publically called ‘Sanghi’, ‘spokespersons of the BJP’, and ‘members of BJP IT cell’. “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,” he noted.

‘Castigated for celebrating Diwali on the Campus’

According to sources, there is no vacation for any Hindu festival in the academic calendar of the campus. When in November last year, Tiwari and some of his friends celebrated Diwali on the campus, the celebration was called upon to have negatively catalyzed the sentiments of others who don’t believe in the Hindu faith. Rishi Tiwari and his friends were targeted on a repeated basis by a single group, while they were left to be labelled as ‘Sanghi’, ‘BJP people’, and ‘radical Hindus’, as he tells us.

This is a developing story. More updates will be posted further.

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