Reliance also denies existence of any such proposal; the initial announcement was met with protests by students
The Banaras Hindu University on Wednesday clarified that no official order was issued or decision was taken by the varsity appointing chairperson of Reliance Foundation Nita Ambani as a visiting professor in any faculty, department or centre.
This comes days after a senior faculty member K.K. Mishra, Dean of Social Sciences, BHU, had said an invitation was sent from the Women Development Study Centre to Ms. Ambani to be appointed as a ‘visiting professor.’ The proposal was, however, yet to be accepted.
Ms. Ambani is married to industrialist Mukesh Ambani, who is the chairman of the Reliance Industries.
The initial announcement was met with protests by students who opposed Ms. Ambani’s appointment.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, BHU said the appointment of a visiting professor needed the approval of its academic council. Neither has any such kind of approval been provided in this matter nor has any such proposal been placed before the council for consideration.
Reports fake: Reliance
Meanwhile, Reliance Industries also denied the existence of any such proposal. “Reports that Nita Ambani will be a visiting lecturer at Banaras Hindu University are fake. She hasn’t received an invitation from BHU,” a Reliance Industries spokesperson told The Hindu.
A group of BHU students had staged a demonstration against any such appointment on Tuesday.
“How is Nita Ambani an example of women’s empowerment? She is just married to Mukesh Ambani. They should have chosen a Hima Das or some other woman athlete, or a woman entrepreneur who have achieved something in their lives. That is why we were protesting,” said Shubham Tiwari, BHU law student and former ABVP activist.
Mr. Tiwari also shared a picture of the BHU letter inviting Ms. Ambani to be a visiting professor, signed by the head of the Centre for Women’s Studies and copied to the BHU VC.
BHU professor Nishi Sharma earlier told news agency PTI that the proposal to make Ms. Ambani a visiting professor had been sent to the authorities. “Ms. Ambani is a woman entrepreneur. If she joins our centre, the women of Purvanchal will get the benefit of her experience,” she had said.
However, when The Hindu asked her about Reliance’s statement that Ms. Ambani had not received any such invitation, Dr. Sharma refused any further comment, saying that she “stands with the university’s statement.”
(With inputs from Priscilla Jebaraj)