A professor of the BLDE Engineering College in Karnataka's Vijayapura district was forced to go down on his knees and apologise with hands folded over an alleged "anti-India" post on social media for praising Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday.
Taking the law into their own hands, members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) physically forced him to kneel down. The activists, including BJP and ABVP members, have demanded the suspension of the professor.
The Facebook post in question, which has allegedly criticised the central government over border tension between India and Pakistan following the Indian Air Force strikes in Pakistan's Balakot, has been removed.
In a viral video that is doing rounds on social media, Sandeep Wathar, a professor of civil engineering in the college, is heard saying, "I won't repeat it in future, forgive me for my Facebook post." He was on his knees surrounded by activists. A few policemen were also among the crowd.
Responding to a tweet by journalist Samar Harlarnkar, ABVP Karnataka said, "He [lecturer] gave an "anti-national" statement which was condemned by the student community."
The professor had questioned the Modi-led BJP government at the Centre for creating a war-like situation in India while praising Pakistan PM Imran Khan for his stand in his first post. In the other post, he slammed "bhakts" for escalating tension and creating a war-like situation in the country.
"Who sounds more intelligent in all this?" Wathar had said regarding Indo-Pak tensions following the IAF air strike in Balakot and the intrusion by Pakistani jets into India. "You...bhakts. You will [be] the reason for the destruction of millions of lives if this tension escalates. BJP...absolutely zero shame."
Spokesperson of BJP Vivek Reddy claimed that the posts were an attempt to break India's unity and praise an enemy country.
Meanwhile, commenting on the incident, College principal Professor VP Huggi said Warthar has not been suspended as of now and appropriate action on the same will be issued on Tuesday when the college reopens. He also stated that Warthar has switched off his phone and is unreachable at present.
At the time of filing this report, a complaint has not been lodged by the professor.
The college in question is apparently run by Bijapur Lingayat Development Education Society, which is owned by Karnataka Home Minister and Congress leader MB Patil, who was not available for comments.
However, this is not the first time ABVP hooligans have treated a college professor in this way. Back in 2018, a Madhya Pradesh college professor had to touch the feet of an ABVP worker to apologise after he had initially stopped them from raising nationalist slogans.