IIT-Kanpur has formed a committee to inquire into a complaint against the recitation of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s noted poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ on campus by students to express solidarity with their peers at Jamia Millia Islamia, the institute’s deputy director Manindra Agarwal said.
He said a “very peaceful protest” was held on December 17 by about 300 students of the premier institute at its premises as they were not allowed to go out due to enforcement of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in the city.
An IIT-Kanpur student recited the poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiz against which a complaint was filed by Dr Vashimant Sharma, a temporary faculty member, and 16 others, including faculty members and students.
“The video suggests that the poem also provokes anti-Hindu sentiments,” the complaint stated.
The written complaint filed by them with the IIT-Kanpur director states that the poem had some words that could hurt the sentiments of Hindus, Agarwal said.
“A committee of six members was established, headed by me, to investigate the matter. Some students have been questioned, while the others will be questioned after they return to the institution after the holidays,” the deputy director said.
There was a war of words on social media between those supporting the recitation of the poem and those who opposed it, he said.
“It was contributing to escalation of the situation and hence we requested both sides to stop it and they obliged,” Agarwal said.
The video also shows students carrying placards with slogans like ‘Tumhari laathi aur goli se tez hamari awaaz hai’ (our voice is louder than your sticks and bullets) and ‘IIT-Kanpur condemns police brutality on Jamia and AMU students. Shame on Delhi Police’, an official said.
“We would take some more days to hear both sides before coming up with the findings as some students were left to question and it could only be possible after their return to the institution after holidays,” Agarwal said, adding, “Once everything cools down, we will be able to sort out the matter amicably.”
However, IIT-Kanpur director Abhay Karandikar has criticised a section of the media for reporting since Wednesday that the institute has set up a committee to decide whether the poem by Faiz is anti-Hindu or not, saying this is “very misleading”.
“The reality is that the institute has received complaints from multiple sections of the community that during a protest march taken out by students certain poem was read and then subsequently certain social media posts were made, which were inflammatory,” Karandikar said.
“The institute has also received complaints from other sections of the community that during the protest march, a group tried to block the march, which was incorrect. So, the institute has set up a committee to look into all these complaints to see if they are genuine. And if they are genuine, what remedial action is to be taken,” he added.