On October 20, a controversy erupted at Ghaziabad’s ABES College during a cultural fest due to the utterance of the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ Following this, teachers at the college expelled a student from the stage after he reciprocated the ‘Jai Sri Ram’ greetings from fellow students. The professors’ actions were criticised on social media, where they later shared videos emphasising their Hindu affiliations in an attempt to justify themselves. In contrast, the college director stated that no action was taken against the student who raised the slogan on stage.
Viral video shows professors scolding
The incident gained prominence after a video, allegedly showing Professor Gautam reprimanding the student, went viral. Gautam scolded the student, questioning why he had raised the slogan of Jai Shri Ram, emphasising that the event was a cultural program, and such behaviour was not permissible. She then instructed him to leave the stage. The student defended himself, stating that he was merely responding to the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ calls from the audience.
The video vividly captures several students on stage greeting the individual with “Jai Shri Ram,” to which he responded in kind. The entire college stadium then enthusiastically echoed ‘Jai Shri Ram,’ which seemed to have upset Mamata Gautam. She stood up and removed the student from the stage.
Mamata Gautam, a teacher from ABES Engineering college in Ghaziabad expelled a student from stage for greeting audience with “Jai Shree Ram”. The student was about to perform at the College Cultural Fest.
— BALA (@erbmjha) October 20, 2023
According to the viral video, the incident took place during a college cultural fest named ‘Navtarang 2023-24,’ which was organised to welcome the first-year BTech students at ABES College of Engineering, Ghaziabad.
The videos triggered an online outcry, with many netizens demanding that the teacher be held accountable for unjustly reprimanding the student who had responded with a ‘Jai Shri Ram’ greeting to the audience. One user emphasised the need for an investigation and called for the prompt reinstatement of the student. Meanwhile, another user remarked that the incident had revealed individuals who had been concealing their true sentiments under the guise of secularism for years.
Ghaziabad police took cognizance
The Ghaziabad Police have taken notice of the incident following the video’s viral spread and initiated a preliminary investigation.
Saloni Agarwal, ACP Wave City, Ghaziabad, confirmed that the police are actively looking into the matter. She stated, “The police are conducting an inquiry based on the video. The college has established an investigative committee regarding the teacher. Further actions will be determined by the committee’s findings. The college administration has assured that no action will be taken against any student,” ACP Saloni Agarwal informed ANI.
Professor issued clarification
Professor Mamata Gautam, one of the educators involved, expressed her support for the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan and shared that she personally observes a nine-day fast during the Navratri festival. In a video, she was shown seated in a room adorned with Hindu deities. Professor Gautam, from ABES Engineering College, clarified that she intervened when a student raised the Jai Shri Ram slogan while arguing with her colleague, aiming to prevent further discord.
Professor Gautam emphasised, “There was nothing of this sort. My colleagues and I, along with the college, have no issue with the Jai Shri Ram slogan. We never have, and we never will. The student (Lakshay Sharma) was in an argument with my colleague, and I went there and told him that he said this (Jai Shri Ram). As a discipline and cultural coordinator, I informed him that he indeed made this statement.”
Ab Victim card khel rahi hai madam 😁 pic.twitter.com/dFWelT4wQq
— Naweed (@Spoof_Junkey) October 20, 2023
She further asserted that the casteist comments directed towards her have been distressing. Mamata Gautam insisted on her identity as a “Sanatani” and a “Brahmin.” “I am a Sanatani Brahmin from Brij, and as you all know, Shardiye Navratri is currently underway. During Navratris, we observe a fast for nine days and perform the Pooja-paath. We have no issue, nor will we ever, with slogans of Jai Shri Ram,” Gautam stated.
The ABES associate professor issued a warning of potential legal action against those making casteist and religious comments about her, as she claimed that such remarks have taken a toll on her mental well-being.
Director assured investigation
Meanwhile, the Director of ABES College, Sanjay Singh, addressed the controversy. He confirmed the formation of a committee to investigate the matter, emphasising that no action will be taken against the student who uttered ‘Jai Shri Ram.’ He added that any further steps will be determined based on the committee’s findings.
This incident arose when a student at ABES College of Engineering in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, was reproached by Mamata Gautam for responding with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ greetings to the audience during a college cultural fest named ‘Navtarang 2023-24.’ As observed in the viral video, it was the audience that initially raised the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, and the student, named Lakshay Sharma, on stage simply echoed the sentiment.
We have constituted an inquiry committee regarding that controversy,We’ll take 100% action on the basis of the finding committee.
College authority will not take any kind of action against students
Sanjay Kumar Singh
ABES Engineering college pic.twitter.com/GcDIY28NYT
— THE INTREPID 🇮🇳 (@Theintrepid_) October 20, 2023
However, this response did not sit well with Professors Shweta Sharma and Mamata Gautam. As seen in the video, Sharma halted the student’s performance on stage and rebuked him for uttering the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan at the event.
In a subsequent video circulating on social media, Professor Shweta Sharma addressed the audience after the student’s removal. She emphasised that the cultural event was meant for everyone to enjoy themselves, and there was no rationale for chanting Jai Shri Ram slogans in that context. Sharma further asserted that since the students have enrolled in a “premium college” like ABES, they should conduct themselves accordingly. She dismissed the Jai Shri Ram slogans as “unnecessary talk.”
“जय श्री राम” सांस्कृतिक नहीं
ABES कॉलेज ग़ज़िआबाद ने की घोसड़ा@myogiadityanath @UPCMOffice
कृपया ध्यान दें कि किस प्रकार ग़ज़िआबाद के एक जाने माने कॉलेज में भगवान श्री राम कों अपमानित किया जा रहा है व इस शब्द के बोलने पर आपत्ति जताई जताकर माहौल कों सांप्रदायिक बनाने की कोशिश… pic.twitter.com/k6a1xqBAnQ
— Deepak Sharma (@SonOfBharat7) October 20, 2023
Subsequently, members of the Hindu Raksha Dal staged a protest at the college gate, chanting Jai Shri Ram slogans in response to the incident. They declared that the protest would persist until the faculty members held responsible for the incident were expelled from the college.
Two faculty members suspended
The Director of the college, Sanjay Singh, in a video statement told the media that, following the report of the investigating committee, the two professors in question were found guilty and hence suspended with immediate effects. He called the behaviour of these teachers ‘inappropriate’ with the students after their videos went viral.
He added, the college formed a investigation committee and the team were strickly asked to submit their report within 24 hours.
Management takes action after outrage: pic.twitter.com/IzSHnKaw1p
— Times Algebra (@TimesAlgebraIND) October 21, 2023