Vandals deface St Stephen’s College chapel
New Delhi: Vandals have defaced the door of the chapel inside Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College with a pro-Hindutva slogan that read, “Mandir yahin banega” (The temple will be constructed here).
Moreover, the cross outside the chapel was also defaced.
Sources said the graffiti on the door was first noticed by students on May 4 evening and the work began to get rid of the slogans the following day.
A St Stephen’s student who did not wish to be named, said, “Some students had already noticed the graffiti on Friday, but I noticed it when I was out for an early morning jog on Saturday. After a while, I saw that the staff had started to remove the slogans. By Saturday afternoon, all signs of the slogans were gone.”
The writing may have gone unnoticed for hours since regular classes have been suspended owing to the impending Delhi University examinations. News 18 reached out to St Stephen’s College Principal John Verghese for a statement, but he was unavailable for comment.
While the door of the chapel read “Mandir yahin bangea,” the cross outside the church had the words “I’m going to hell” written on them. Delhi University Students’ Union Presidet Rocky Tusseed expressed concern over the matter and said they would raise the issue with the concerned authorities.
“There is an attempt to divide students of the country along religious lines. The same script of Aligarh Muslim University (where an 80-year-old portrait of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah created a controversy) is playing out here as well,” Tusseed said.
The Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) also issued a statement.
“St Stephen’s College has been a shining beacon in granting excellent quality education to students and has played a pivotal role in shaping young minds that have gone to positively influence policy making decisions. Such an incident brings harm to the very fabric of the institution and to the spirit of the idea of India for which it stands. This incident is condemnable and strict actions should be taken against those who are found guilty,” NSUI media in-charge Neeraj Mishra told News 18.
The ABVP, too, called for action. ABCVP Delhi state secretary Bharat Kumar said, “Whoever is responsible for this must be brought to book. ABVP condemns this act of vandalism.”
According to Rajesh Kumar, member of DU’s Executive Council, said, “We absolutely condemn this incident. Such incidents have increased after the current government took office. Their attitude towards education is anti-social justice. That is why such incidents take place, to distract from all the ways in which they are destroying higher education. Whoever is found responsible must be punished.”
On May 5, the Delhi Police dismissed as “rumors” the controversial quotes written on the college chapel.
Students union president Sai Aashirwaad had earlier said inflammatory quotes like ‘Mandir Yahi Banega’ were found written on the chapel’s main door, while an ‘Om’ symbol along with the words ‘I’m going to hell’ was found on the cross behind the chapel.
The college administration had announced preparatory holidays for students from April 28, with only those having practical exams attending the college.
(Sources; News18 and The Times of India)