Published: 19th October 2021
From NEET topper to accused of spreading communal hate: Rourkela's Soyeb Aftab apologises for mocking Hindus in Ramleela skit
The Ramleela skit presented by students of Delhi AIIMS triggered a backlash on social media and condemnation from various political parties for its derogatory tone and mockery
Exactly a year back, 19-year-old Soyeb Aftab had brought laurels for his hometown Rourkela by topping the NEET-2020 but the AIIMS Delhi first year MBBS student’s involvement in the Ramleela skit controversy has now left the Steel City residents shocked. Soyeb is accused of hosting a skit that promoted communal hate and uploading the video on social media.
Soyeb’s family friend Afroz Ahemad said he is pained, shocked and ashamed for his involvement in the controversy. “He is such a bright and intelligent boy whose achievement filled everyone with pride. He should not have let himself dragged into the controversy. No student should think on communal lines but respect all religions,” Afroz said. Soyeb’s father Sheikh Mohammed Abbas did not pick up calls when contacted for comments.
The Ramleela skit presented by students of Delhi AIIMS triggered a backlash on social media and condemnation from various political parties for its derogatory tone and mockery of the mythological characters of Ramayana. Shortly after, the AIIMS Students’ Association issued an apology.
Following the widespread demand for his arrest, Soyeb on Sunday clarified in a Twitter post, “I apologise for sending the video to the Unacademy vlog, but as you can see in the clip, I was not part of the act, but a spectator. I was in no way involved in the script, cast, direction of the act and it does not reflect my views.” However, his clarification has not yet fully soothed frayed tempers.
Soyeb had hogged the limelight nationally securing a perfect 720 out of 720 in NEET 2020. Hailing from a middle-class family of Azad Mohalla, a minority ghetto, at Anand Bhawan Lane in Rourkela, he had achieved what none other in his community had ever thought of. Behind Soyeb’s feat was a prolonged struggle and resolve of his financially struggling father Abbas (48) and support of mother Sultana who with daughter Alisha (11) had stayed at Kota, Rajasthan where the boy was taking medical coaching. His mother and sister also stay with Soyeb in Delhi.