The AIIMS Student Association has issued what it believes qualifies as an apology after video clips of a Ramleela skit performed by some students of the institute drew widespread social media condemnation for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
The skit, allegedly giving a modern spin to some characters of Ramayana with a comic flavour, betraying little or no knowledge of the original story, its authoritative traditional versions and the background of the characters mentioned in the Vedas, was performed on the occasion of Dussehra by some first-year MBBS students near the hostel quadrangle at the AIIMS campus. It caused outrage among netizens with many alleging it was disrespectful of religious sentiments.
Responding to the criticism, the AIIMS Student Association issued what Twitter users are calling a sham of an apology through a tweet. “A video clip of a Ramleela skit done by some students of AIIMS has been circulating on social media. On behalf of the students, we apologise for the conduct of this skit which was not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments. We will ensure that no such activity takes place in the future,” it said.
Popular Twitter user Shefali Vaidya dismissed the sorry statement, saying, “What kind of a sham apology is this? There should be so many cases filed against these guys that they spend next ten years of their life just paying lawyers and running from one court hearing to another. That’s the ONLY way. For Ms the way would have been ‘ सर तनसे जुदा’”
Taking note of the matter, the AIIMS administration held a discussion with the students, an official said, adding, “The students, realising the sensitivity of the issue, have apologised and issued a tweet. They have assured that such an incident won’t recur.”
The official further said the skit was not part of any official activity or event and the students had organised it on their own. A first-year student, who was a part of the skit, put out a video seeking apology and saying they had organised it it out of “childishness” and when they saw the video later, they themselves felt ashamed.
“I and all of us want to apologise and assure that something like this will never happen again. It is being said that the AIIMS is Hinduphobic and that here Hindu festivals are not respected which is not true.”
“We celebrate all Hindu festivals here with grandeur….So it’s not true that we are against Hindus. We respect all our gods and goddesses,” he says in the video.