VARANASI: Feroz Khan, appointed as assistant professor at the Banaras Hindu University's Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan (SVDV), is now truly caught in a crossfire.
Even as students of the Sanskrit department continue to protest against the appointment of a Muslim professor as faculty member, another group of BHU students have started taking out processions in support of the professor.
These students, carrying placards saying 'We are with Feroz Khan', are supporting the beleaguered professor, who has not been able to take classes since his appointment due to the ongoing protests.
The university students also held a peace march in support of Khan. Holding banners with 'We are with you Dr Feroz Khan' written on it, the students marched from the university's Lanka Gate to Ravidas Gate. The peace march was a joint initiative by outfits like the NSUI, Youth for Swaraj and AISA, they held the banner of 'Joint Action Committee'.
In an unexpected development, a group of saints in Varanasi have also condemned the protests against Khan and said that the professor and his family have been running a cow shelter and have deep faith in the Hindu culture.
Vindheshwari Mishra, Dean, SVDV, meanwhile said, "No one knows where Dr Feroz Khan is staying. He has not come here and some people claim that he has gone to visit his family in Jaipur.
Khan has not been meeting anyone and his mobile phone is switched off.
Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar has not deviated from his stand that Khan's appointment was legitimate.
Vikas Singh, a PhD student of Political Science and a member of NSUI, said, "Through our peace march, we tried to tell that we welcome Dr Feroz Khan in this university that was established by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. There should be a solution to this issue. The students protesting against his appointment have a narrow casteist mentality."
Several BHU professors have also come out in support of Khan.
Professor Mahesh Prasad Ahirwar of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, expressed his frustration over the issue on Facebook.