The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the arrest of Indore Prof Inamur Rehman in connection with allegations of “promoting Hinduphobia”.
The Bar and Bench reported that the bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha also sought the response of the Madhya Pradesh government in the matter, within four weeks.
The matter was taken on board after Advocate Aljo K Joseph made a mentioning on Friday, said the report by The Bar and Bench. Advocate Abhinav P Dhanodkar also represented the petitioner.
The Indore police had lodged an FIR against Rehman in connection with a “controversial” book found in the library of the college that allegedly “encourages religious fundamentalism”. Rehman was the principal of the law college, while the book in question has been written by Dr Farhat Khan.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested inside the campus and has alleged that the book Collective Violence and Criminal Justice System by Dr Khan contained objectionable remarks against Hindus, the RSS, as well as the Union government and the Army.
Rehman has alleged that he and four Muslim professors were being targeted because of ‘religious identity’.
Speaking with NewsClick, Rahman had said earlier: “I took charge as the principal in August 2019, while the book was purchased in 2014 by the then principal Sudha Silawat, who is the kin of a sitting minister in the ruling government, on the recommendation of three faculty members – Dr J K Jain, professor Praveen Kumar Choudhary and Professor NK Pagariya.”
Showing a receipt of the ‘controversial’ book which mentioned the purchasing date, he said: “I have nothing to do with its placement in the library. The FIR against me is unfortunate. I have been booked but not the library head who is responsible.”
Rahman’s resignation came two days after an ABVP worker from Indore, Dipendra Thakur, in a memorandum submitted to the college principal, questioned the “high” number of Muslim faculty members in the university. He also accused the college administration of “promoting Muslims and Islamic culture” on the campus. He then went on to allege that four Muslim teachers were “promoting love jihad” and religious fundamentalism”.
“Only four faculty members are Muslims out of 28. Even though I initiated an inquiry and barred all the named professors from college till the investigation was complete, the ABVP students raised objectionable and hurtful slogans against me demanding resignation,” Rahman had said while breaking down over the phone.
NewsClick had reached out to the Indore-based publisher of the book, Amar Law Publication. Speaking over the phone, publisher Hitesh Khetrapal (43) had said: “We published that book in 2014. But in 2021, I received a call from an advocate who was speaking on behalf of RSS and raised objections on some parts of the book. We conveyed this message to the author and retrieved all the books sold to the institutions and sent them new editions after omitting the objectionable part in 2021.”
“The author also gave a written apology after the objection and the dust died down,” said Khetrapal, who also shared a copy of the apology letter written by the author in March 2021.
Yet, on a complaint by an LLM student of Government New Law College and ABVP leader Lucky Adiwal, the police charged four people, including principal Rahman, under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and other Sections of the IPC.
The others named in the case registered were author Dr Farhat Khan, publishing house Amar Law Publication and professor Mirza Mojiz Baig, police said.