New Delhi: The IIT Kanpur professor who filed a complaint against students last month for reciting Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ has a history of writing anti-Muslim articles and tweets.
Vashi Mant Sharma, 32, who hails from Ghaziabad, has spoken out against ‘love jihad’ and suggested measures to tackle it. ‘Love jihad’ is a term coined by Hindu fundamentalist groups, referring to an alleged campaign by Muslim men to convert Hindu girls in the guise of love.
A strong proponent of cow protection or ‘gau raksha’, Sharma is associated with an organisation called Agniveer, which claims to be “working both in virtual and real world to promote Vedic Dharma and counter falsehood”.
The website describes Sharma as “a globally renowned energy scientist and an expert on Islamic terrorism and deradicalisation”.
Sharma has been teaching at IIT Kanpur since 2016, under the INSPIRE government scheme, which allows a postdoctoral fellow to teach at any Indian institute for five years.
Series of anti-Muslim articles
There are videos on the Agniveer website in which Sharma is seen explaining ‘love jihad’. In a video, Sharma is even saying that he now has “an army of good guys” who can liberate Muslim women by marrying them and get them back to the “path of dharma”.
In an article, titled ‘True Love or Paid Romeo? Litmus Test Questions‘ written by Sharma on the website, he has listed questions to “find out if your love is true or is it just a tool for a conversion agent jihadi in disguise”.
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In another article, Sharma talks about the difference between Rohingya Muslims and Pakistani Hindus.
Sharma has even authored books in Hindi and English titled ‘The Naked Mughals’, ‘Exposing Zakir Naik’, ‘Indian Muslims — Children of India or Slaves of Arabs’, among others, according to the website.
Sharma’s tweets also hold proof of his anti-Muslim stance.
On 11 January 2019, Sharma had tweeted that if your daughter or sister has “stopped wearing jeans, started meditating in private…started wearing strange perfumes then she is in M trap (sic)”.
When i witnessed #jihad in my neighbourhood, happening with a close friend’s daughter, how could understand, how close @VashiMant is to the truth. Twitter makes u realize how jihad is operating but there is nothing, nothing u can do about it. https://t.co/JACzKMVpsD
— Shalini (@Shalinigoyal15) January 3, 2020
‘Complained because Faiz is Pakistani’
Sharma, who did his masters in mechanical engineering and then a PhD from IIT-Bombay, told ThePrint that he objected to the students reciting ‘Hum Dekhenge’ because Faiz was a Pakistani poet.
“Why did they not sing a poem by (Ramdhari Singh) Dinkar? We also have Indian rebel poets,” he said.
Sharma said it hurt his sentiments that the poem sung by the students had a line that said ‘Bas naam rahega Allah ka’ (only Allah’s name will remain) and not ‘Ram ka’.
He added that his grandfather was a freedom fighter, and that he does not subscribe to any particular ideology.
“I am not associated with the RSS or BJP in any way. I do my own research and have my opinions,” he said.
On the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Sharma said he supports the legislation. “The number of Hindus in Pakistan after Partition has reduced from 22 per cent to 2 per cent and that’s where the need for the CAA comes,” he said.
An earlier version of this report incorrectly mentioned that Sharma condemns Dalit upliftment. The error is regretted.
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