Indian foreign minister suggests ousting of Oxford student union president was due to racism

Oxford University’s student union has become embroiled in a diplomatic row after India’s foreign minister suggested that the recent ousting of its president was due to racism.

Rashmi Samant, a graduate student reading for an MSc in energy systems at Linacre College, was elected to the role in February after winning 65 per cent of the vote.

She was due to take up the position at the end of the summer term and had promised to “tackle institutional homophobia and transphobia” and “decolonise the curriculum” but resigned days after being elected after a series of Colleges passed motions of no confidence following a backlash over “racist” comments she made on social media.

Oxford International Society said at the time that “for a candidate who campaigned for inclusivity, it is crushing to understand this was insincere in nature”, citing her “anti-Semitic, transphobic and racist social media posts”.

Ms Samant was also criticised for an Instagram post from 2019 of a photograph taken in Malaysia with the caption “Ching Chang”. She defended the post against accusations that it was “sinophobic”, saying it was a reference to a joke with a friend about her vegetarianism…

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