Teacher accused of hurting religious feelings at AMU issues apology

A professor of forensic medicine at Aligarh Muslim University has issued an ‘unconditional apology’ after religious references he made during a class on sex offenses were widely condemned.

Jitendra Kumar, an assistant professor in AMU’s Department of Forensic Medicine, was teaching a class of third-year MBBS students on Tuesday when he showed his class a PowerPoint presentation. The presentation had various references from Hindu mythology to illustrate that rape has been present since time immemorial. Two of the references he made were to Lord Brahma – considered the creator of the world by Hindus and to Lord Vishnu, revered as the guardian of the world.

Many students found this objectionable. They took photos of the presentation and posted them on social media. Among the comments made on the slides were “…absolutely disgusting and insulting to the entire Hindu community in WBU.”

National spokesperson for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vinod Bansal, tweeted that “the strictest action” must be taken.

A Twitter user suggested that national security law should be invoked.

AMU’s public relations officer issued a statement on Wednesday that read: “The (AMU) administration and the School of Medicine strongly condemned the content of a slide on the mythical rape reference today and have issued a show cause notice to Dr. Jitendra Kumar for hurting the religious feelings of students, staff and citizens. He was requested to submit his response within 24 hours”.

While a two-member Board of Inquiry was set up to investigate the matter, Kumar issued his apologies ahead of the statement made by the PRO. The committee is also responsible for recommending measures such as “this type of incident does not happen again”.

In his apology, Kumar said, “My intention was not to hurt the religious feelings of any particular religion and the reference was only to point out that rape has been a part of society for a long time, which I considered as an unintentional error on my part… I assure you that such type of failure will not happen again in the future and I again offer my unconditional apologies”.

AMU PRO Omar Peerzada said the university has a “zero tolerance policy” towards such acts.

“The teacher will submit a response within 24 hours after the administration decides what action to take against him,” he said.