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DU clash with PM kin inside

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By CHARU SUDAN KASTURI in Delhi
  • Published 25.02.08
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New Delhi, Feb. 25: The BJP’s student wing today ransacked Delhi University’s history department, clashing with students and faculty in protest against a recommended text for study.

The text allegedly contains inappropriate references to Hindu gods.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has alleged that the text was compiled by professor Upinder Singh, a historian at DU and daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Upinder Singh has, however, told The Telegraph she has nothing to do with the text, a claim the head of the history department backed today.

Upinder Singh was on campus when the vandalism occurred. The historian was escorted out by the Special Protection Group but officials clarified that she was not targeted.

Professor Saiyid Zaheer Hussain Jafri, the head of the department, accused the activists of manhandling him, a charge the ABVP has denied.

“Between eight and 10 goondas of the ABVP forced themselves into my office. They grabbed me by the neck and pushed me,” Jafri said.

But Niharika Sharma, the ABVP state secretary, said her group had not laid a finger on Jafri. “He was not willing to listen to us. Instead, he threw a memorandum back. That’s when the protest turned violent,” she said, admitting that the department was ransacked.

The contentious text contains an article — by the late historian A.K. Ramanujan — describing multiple versions of the Ramayan as depicted in historical texts.

An independent committee is looking into whether the article should be withdrawn.