LSE accused of ‘Hinduphobia’ after Students Union disqualifies candidate from election

Karan Kataria was disqualified for breaching election rules during the SU General Election

A candidate for General Secretary for the London School of Economics Students’ Union has been disqualified for breaching election rules.

The LSESU confirmed in an online statement that Karan Kataria was disqualified and the decision was upheld after an appeal was brought to a committee for judgement.

Karan Kataria, a Master’s law student at LSE took to Twitter to say that he was a victim of ‘Hinduphobia’ from the Students Union, and told one newspaper that LSE was planning an ‘anti-India smear campaign’.

During the election, complaints were lodged against Kataria, leading to his removal from the election. However, Kataria says that he was not contacted by the Union until after his disqualification.

The LSESU maintains that Kataria was removed for breaching the rule which states that during elections, candidates must maintain a reasonable distance from anyone casting their vote.

The disqualification came as allegations against Kataria of Islamophobia, homophobia and queerphobia were circulated on social media during the election.

Kataria says that the allegations against him were part of a “smear campaign” and that the accusations were “baseless and undemocratic.” He called for an investigation into his treatment by the SU.

A member of the committee which disqualified Kataria told The Quint: “There was nothing Hinduphobic around us disqualifying him from the student union polls. His Hindu identity was not a matter of consideration when we made this decision.

“Karan’s belief that the committee which made the decision was Hinduphobic…. I can guarantee you that that’s not the case since the committee itself is extremely diverse.”

The LSE SU stated they were “confident that all decisions were followed according to due process and best practise.”

In a statement on Twitter, Kataria said, “Despite receiving immense support from all nationalities, I was disqualified from the general election of the LSE Students Union. The allegations against me ranged from being homophobic, Islamophobic, queerphobic, and Hindu Nationalist.

“Following it, multiple complaints were raised against me. Many false accusations were made to discredit my image and my character, when, to the contrary, I have always advocated for positive change and social harmony.”

An LSE spokesperson said: “The LSESU has informed us that a candidate was disqualified from the SU leadership election for breaking election rules. We understand an external review of the election proceedings will take place in due course. 

“Separately, we are aware of allegations of bullying on campus that we are investigating. We are clear that bullying and harassment are completely unacceptable. We strongly encourage any student who has experienced or witnessed violence or harassment to get in touch through our dedicated online portal Report it Stop It:”

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