Three students in judicial custody for vandalism

February 26th, 2008 - 8:21 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) A city court Tuesday sent three members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s youth wing to judicial custody for a fortnight for alleged vandalism in Delhi University over “objectionable references” to the Ramayana in the university’s history course. Meanwhile, activists of the youth wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP), held a hunger strike in Delhi University to protest the arrest of the three activists on Monday.

Metropolitan Magistrate Siddharth Sharma sent the three students, including Vikas Dahiya, former vice president of Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), to judicial custody.

Criminal charges have also been slapped by Delhi Police on 10 other students who were a part of the mob that vandalised classrooms and property on Monday.

The court refused to hear the bail plea of the three ABVP members and posted the matter for Wednesday.

ABVP Delhi general secretary Niharika Sharma said that on Monday they had gone to submit a memorandum to the head of the history department over the alleged objectionable references to characters in the Hindu epic in the history text, when things turned ugly.

“There are certain references to Hanuman in the text which are offensive. Students when expected to reproduce this in their exams will be made to write something that they don’t believe in,” she said.

The text - “Three Hundred Ramanayas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation by A.K. Ramanujan” - is an essay by A.K. Ramanujan on different folk traditions related to the Ramayana in the recommended reading for second year B.A. Honours students.

Amrita Bahari, president of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), said the row was just an attempt by the ABVP to hog the limelight.

“This act of ABVP’s is just a publicity stunt. The allegedly objectionable essay has already been taken into consideration by the vice chancellor, who has ordered an enquiry into it. Why the fuss now?” she asked.

“The enquiry committee is analysing the book and a report will be made. This ugly face of student activism of vandalising classroom property and window panes was totally uncalled for,” Amrita told IANS.

Meanwhile, Upinder Singh, professor in the history department and daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, denied allegations she had compiled the book.

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