The Delhi Police have faced condemnation for the arrest of Delhi University Professor Ratan Lal for his social media post on the so-called discovery of a Shivling from the premises of Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque.
The Delhi Police arrested Ratan Lal, a history professor with Delhi University’s Hindu College, on a complaint filed by lawyer Vineet Jindal.
Lal was later produced before Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court, which reserved its order on his bail plea.
#WATCH | Delhi University's history professor Ratan Lal is being produced before Tis Hazari Court
He was arrested on Friday regarding a social media post allegedly intended to outrage religious beliefs after the alleged discovery of Shivling inside Gyanvapi Mosque complex. pic.twitter.com/KincKtq9i2
— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2022
Sharing the image of the Gyanvapi Mosque’s fountain, which was being claimed as a Shivling, Lal had written on social media, “If this is a Shivling, then it seems Shiv ji too had his circumcision done.”
His post had evoked angry reactions from right-wing Hindu groups, who demanded the professor’s arrest. But the professor, who is also the editor-in-chief of Ambedkarnama, a news portal focusing on Dalit issues, had found plenty of support from Dalit activists.
प्रो. @ratanlal72 साहब ने सत्य ही तो कहा है और जहां सत्य है वहां शिव है और शिव ही सुंदर है जहां शिव है वहां मैं हूं…. भावार्थ यह हुआ कि रतनलाल सत्य के साथ हैं शिव सत्य है मैं शिव के साथ अर्थात रतनलाल साहब के साथ हूं। "सत्यम शिवम् सुंदरम"#WesupportProfRatanlal pic.twitter.com/DsIvbdqU7d
— Aniruddh Singh Vidrohi (@MandalArmyChief) May 18, 2022
दिल्ली यूनिवर्सिटी के प्रोफ़ेसर डॉ रतनलाल साहब के पीछे जनेऊ लीला शुरू हो चुकी है. वैसे तो उनको किसी के समर्थन की ज़रूरत है नहीं क्योंकि वो ख़ुद ही बहुत बड़ी हस्ति है फिर भी आप एक एक ट्वीट तो लिख ही सकते हैं. आरएसएस ने अपना मोर्चा अब Dalit intellectuals के तरफ़ बढ़ा दिया है।
— Nitin Meshram (@nitinmeshram_) May 18, 2022
He is an academician of repute, writing on Dalit issues n fighting the Brahminical Patriarchy. I stand in his solidarity! #WesupportProfRatanlal
— Ashok Kumar (@avadhootashok) May 18, 2022
Reacting to his social media post, Lal had written, ” Media is hurting the religious sentiments of the people in the matter. The media has declared me guilty by running a trial. Have the media people lost faith in the court?”
In his subsequent post, Lal had written, “I have only put forth my opinion, the criticism has been done by Kabir, Periyar Ambedkar and the Government of India publishes their books.”
Lal had also alleged that his 20-year-old son was receiving threats through his Facebook messenger.
Reacting to Lal’s arrest, Congress leader Digvijay Singh wrote, “I strongly condemn Prof Ratn Lal’s arrest. He has the Constitutional Right of opinion and expression. ”
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) May 21, 2022
The Supreme Court on Friday transferred the Gyanvapi case from the Varanasi civil judge to a more experienced District Court judge as it allowed Muslims to continue with their namaz inside the historic mosque. The top court also directed Varanasi District Magistrate to make arrangements for Muslim worshippers to perform wudhu (ablution).