Rashmi Samant, the first Indian to be elected as the president of the Oxford University Student’s union. She quits from her post the day after she was elected in February. She resigned because of last month’s controversy over some of her past remarks and references which branded her as “racist” and “insensitive”.
India “can never ever turn our eyes away from racism”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in the parliament on Monday.
After a BJP Rajya Sabha members raised the topic of Rashmi Samant. the first Indian to be elected as the president of the Oxford University Student’s union. She quits from her post the day after she was elected in February.
She resigned because of last month’s controversy over some of her past remarks and references which branded her as “racist” and “insensitive”. The minister said that India will raise such topics to Britain “when required”.
“As the land of Mahatma Gandhi, we can never ever turn our eyes away from racism. Particularly so when it is in a country where we have such a large diaspora. We have strong ties with the UK. We will take up such matters with great candor when required,” Jaishankar addressed the Rajya Sabha.
The foreign minister said that he will monitor the development very closely and will raise the topic when required. They will always champion the fight against racism and another such form of intolerance.
The Bharatiya Janta Party leader Ashwini Vaishnav, Rajya Sabha member from Odisha, slammed that Ms. Samant faced “cyberbullying” and he also called out the “continuation of attitudes and prejudices from the colonial areas, especially in the UK.” He also spoke about Ms. Samant that she overcame all the challenges to become the first Indian woman to be elected as the president of the Oxford University Student’s body.
Her resignation came in the backdrop of some of the old social media posts that are deemed to be “racist” and “insensitive”.
She post, mostly on Instagram, including one with a play on words about the Holocaust and a photo of her visit to Malaysia with the caption “Ching Chang” which were termed offensive by Jewish and Chinese students of the university. Another post in which she separated “women” and “transwomen” in the caption and her comparison of imperialist Cecil Rhodes to Adolf Hitler during a Student Union debate also upset her fellow mates.
Samant apologized for the social media posts, some of which were old backdated to 2017, in an open letter. The Oxford University Chinese Society (OUCS) responded to her initial apology by saying: “Regrettably, we have not yet heard anything directly from Rashmi Samant. Her long-overdue public apology does not seem sincere to the OUCS.
In her apology letter, Rashmi seems to be avoiding addressing her mistakes directly, and it does not show her taking responsibility for her insensitivity to race or ignorance towards the trans-community. We cannot see Rashmi as the SU president we ‘rightfully deserve’ or trust”.
Ms. Samant later announced that she will resign as the president-elect on Facebook as she continued to face criticism. “In light of the recent events surrounding my election to the Presidency of the Oxford SU, I believe it is best for me to step down from the role. It has been an honor to be your President-elect,” she posted on social media.