A Banaras Hindu official has been forced to quit her post after she reportedly removed a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) flag from a playground on campus located in Mirzapur district and the Uttar Pradesh police has charged her of “insulting religious beliefs”.

The official in question, Kiran Damle, is the deputy chief proctor at the Rajiv Gandhi South Campus of BHU in Mirzapur.

Damle, reportedly, removed the flag while students affiliated to the RSS were holding a ‘shakha’ on Tuesday morning.

Damle in her defense has said that she was only following the rules of the institution. “I asked the shakha members to remove the flag themselves, but they paid no attention. So I picked up the flag and gave it to my peon. When they came after me, I told them that they could not hoist the flag at such a sensitive time. When they insisted, I said I would not allow it inside the stadium,” she said.

The RSS affiliated students later held protests on the campus saying that removing the flag amounts to disrespecting it, forcing Damle to quit. The protesters also accused Damle of misbehaving with students.

A local unit of the RSS filed a complaint and the police registered a criminal case against her on charges of insulting religious beliefs.

BHU sources said that they are in talks with senior RSS leaders in Mirzapur to resolve the issue but some leaders are unrelenting.

Ratnakar Mishra, a BJP MLA who visited the campus during the protests, said, “The RSS has been holding shakhas here for many years now. It was the last wish of (BHU founder) Madan Mohan Malviyaji that any institution started by him should have shakhas. She has insulted his memory.”

The Congress has accused the BJP and RSS interfering in the matters of the University and slammed RSS for holding ‘shakhas’ on the campus.

“RSS shakhas should not be held on the campus of educational institutions. In any case, why are outsiders — including RSS officebearers — interfering in the affairs of the university,” former Congress MLA Lalitesh Pati Tripathi said.

The RSS is the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

(With inputs from IANS)