‘Ram temple’ crops up inside University of Hyderabad; Students protest

Hyderabad: A ‘Ram temple’ sprang up out of the blue inside the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus on Sunday on the occasion of Ram Navami.

A formation of rocks near the men’s hostel-F and the chief warden’s office was found to be converted into a “Ram temple” by painting it in saffron colour and by putting a couple of photographs of Lord Ram under a tree along with saffron flags. The rocks also sported ‘Om’ and Swastika symbols.

The students’ union and various student organisations protested against it calling it an attempt to “saffronise” the campus by right-wing groups.

As reported by the Indian Express, the Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) and the Students Federation of India (SFI) blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for allegedly trying to “provoke” non-Hindu students. However, the ABVP officially distanced itself from the controversial structure and called it the religious freedom of students. Meanwhile, it conducted the usual Ram Navami celebrations on the campus.

Fearing the establishment of a permanent religious structure, the UoH students’ union appealed to the university administration to issue a notification or circular to whitewash the structure and remove the photos.

University officials revealed that the administration had asked for the removal of the structure when the issue was brought to its notice.

Nandan, who belongs to the SFI alleged that the ABVP, with outside support from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become aggressive since the return of students to campus after the pandemic break. He informed that ABVP has been holding an RSS shakha on campus and writings on walls calling for ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and ‘Jai Sriram’ are becoming frequent.

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