Symbiosis Teacher Arrested For ‘Objectionable Remark About Hindu Deities'

The video which went viral showed the professor draw parallels between Hindu gods with Islam and Christianity.

3 min read
Hindi Female

The Pune police arrested a 43-year-old professor at Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce (SCAC) on Thursday, 3 August, on charges of hurting religious sentiments a day after the institute suspended him for making alleged “objectionable remarks about Hindu deities” during a class.

Ashok Sopan Dhole, who teaches Hindi at SCAC, located on Senapati Bapat Road was arrested by the Deccan Gymkhana police. The arrest was based on a complaint filed by Ravindra Padwal, 30, who identified himself as a member of an organisation named Samast Hindu Bandhav.

According to the First Information Report (FIR) accessed by The Quint, Dhole made the allegedly hurtful remarks about Hinduism during a class 12 lecture on 25 July.

The purported video which went viral on social media showed the professor draw parallels between the Hindu gods with Islam and Christianity.

The Quint spoke to SCAC Principal Hrishikesh Soman on suspending Ashok Dhole and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on why it has been demanding action against the professor.


'Charged For Hurting Religious Sentiments'

The Deccan Gymkhana police charged Dhole under section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts that are intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as per the FIR.

A 45-second-long purported video is being circulated online where the teacher can be heard drawing comparisons among Hinduism, Christianity, Islam. In the video he is seen saying, "God is one."

Dhole’s comments in the purported video form a part of the alleged objectionable remarks cited in the FIR.

“The accused has insulted Hindu religion and has intentionally hurt religious sentiments, mine and those of others,” the FIR, registered on the basis of Palwal's complaint, claimed. 

Senior Inspector Vipin Hasabnis of Deccan Gymkhana police station told The Quint, “Representatives of various Hindu organisations including the ABVP approached us with a complaint on Wednesday, 2 August. They showed the video of the incident”.  

Hasabnis said the professor was summoned for questioning and subsequently arrested on Thursday, 3 August.


Day Before Arrest, SCAC Suspends Dhole

Confirming that the ABVP approached the police, Kaustubh Pile, the organisation's state office secretary told The Quint that several students of SCAC reached out to them with the video demanding action against the professor.

A day prior to Dhole’s arrest, the professor was suspended from the college, SCAC Principal Hrishikesh Soman told The Quint.

“Ashok Sopan Dhole has been working in our college for the past 18 years. The incident was brought to our notice by the students on 2 August, Wednesday, so we set up an inquiry committee and suspended him immediately,” Soman said.

We have to follow government norms since the institution is a grant-in-aid college. A committee has been formed to take necessary action and further inquiry and process has begun,” Soman added.


ABVP, Hindutva Outfits Protest Against Dhole's Remarks

Earlier on Thursday, several members of right wing outfits, and student outfit ABVP, staged a protest outside the SCAC college demanding action against the teacher.

In a press note, ABVP Maharashtra State Secretary Anil Thombare said, “Pune is the home of education, students from different places come here for education. Professors like Ashok Dhole working in a holy field like education with wrong attitude, trying to mislead the students, it is very shameful, student council will not tolerate it”

“If you are in the role of a professor, then it is your responsibility to educate the student,” Pile added.

Dhole is likely to be produced at a city court on Friday, 4 August, confirmed Inspector Vipin Habnasis. “We have requested for police custody for further inquiry,” he told The Quint.

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