‘Will Take It Up When Required’: Jaishankar on Oxford Student Row

An Indian student had faced criticism after some of her social media posts were called “racist” and “insensitive.”

Updated
India
2 min read
Rashmi Samant.
i

Responding to a question regarding Oxford student Rashmi Samant, who was compelled to resign as the the student union president owing to the criticism she faced for passing ‘racist’ remarks, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said in Rajya Sabha on Monday, 15 March, that India will take up such matters “when required.”

Ashwini Vaishnaw, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP raised the topic of the Indian student from Karnataka who had faced criticism after some of her social media posts and remarks were called "racist" and "insensitive".

Vaishnaw said, "There appears to be a continuation of attitudes and prejudices from the colonial areas, especially in the UK. The recent case of Rashmi Samant, a student from Karnataka is a classic case in point.”

In 2017, Samant had made a holocaust reference on a social media post during her visit to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, and on Instagram, she captioned a picture of herself in Malaysia with "Ching Chang", upsetting Chinese students.

She was also criticised for a post that separated women and trans women, resulting in the Oxford LGBTQ+ body calling for her resignation.

Noting that Samant was the first Indian woman to be the student union’s president, Vaishnaw argued that her diversity should have been celebrated, but instead she was allegedly cyberbullied to the point of resignation, ANI reported.

"Even the Hindu religious beliefs of her parents were publicly attacked by a faculty member and that also went unpunished. If this is the kind of treatment that happens at the highest institute like Oxford what is the message that goes out to the world?" he added, NDTV quoted.

Reacting to the MP, Jaishankar said, "As land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never ever turn our eyes away from racism. Particularly so when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora. We've strong ties with the UK. We'll take up such matters with great candour when required, news agency ANI quoted.

Saying that “we will always champion the fight against racism and other forms of intolerance”, the EAM added, "We will monitor these developments very, very closely.”

Last month, Samant had posted on Facebook, "In light of the recent events surrounding my election to the Presidency of the Oxford SU, I believe it is best for me to step down from the role. It has been an honour to be your President-elect." She had left for India as a result of the controversy.

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