Banaras Hindu University molestation case: Students, journalists injured; CM Yogi Adityanath seeks report

A large number of students from Banaras Hindu University have been protesting since Friday, as a girl from the hostel was allegedly molested by men on motorcycles inside the campus.

Published: 24th September 2017 01:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2017 07:22 PM   |  A+A-

An injured student writhing in pain after police allegedly beat them up during a clash at Banaras Hindu University late Saturday night. (PTI)

Express News Service

VARANASI: A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in lathicharge by the police in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) which witnessed violence last night, in an ugly turn to a protest against an alleged eve-teasing incident.

In the wake of the violence, the university has announced "holidays" from tomorrow till October 2, advancing it from September 28.

There have been protests on campus since Friday by girl students over lack of any action by the administration over incidents of harassment of women students. The protests turned violent late Saturday night when male boarders joined the protest and pelted stones and hurled Molotov cocktails at the police and paramilitary forces deployed around the vice-chancellor’s lodge.

In response, the policemen caned the male students who blockaded the vice-chancellors’ lodge and several male students were injured. Enraged students indulged in arson and vandalism on campus.

According to the senior superintendent of police of Varanasi, RK Bhardwaj a heavy police force was deployed on the campus. Senior administrative officials including the divisional commissioner, district magistrate and others visited the campus on Sunday morning. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath sought a report on the incident from the commissioner of Varanasi division on Sunday.

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Students of the Mahila Maha Vidyalaya (MMV) on the BHU campus and boarders of the Triveni complex held a 13-hour demonstration at the main gates of the university even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was visiting the city on Friday.

The incident that triggered the protests took place on Thursday. Protestors demanded that vice-chancellor G C Tripathi visit them at the protest venue and  take action against the perpetrators of the incident. But the vice-chancellor remained silent on those demands.

He, however, tried clear the air on Sunday claiming that the incident was the handiwork of outsiders. “They joined the girl students and fomenting trouble on the campus by instigating protestors,” Tripathi said.

“The presence of students with petrol bombs on campus is evidence of this,” he said. He did not rule out the role of political parties in fuelling the protest to catch the headlines during the PM’s visit.

An injured policeman after clashes
 broke out at BHU.
(PTI)

Asked why he did not visit the protest venue to hear the women students, Prof. Tripathi said he had intelligence hinting that there could be trouble if he went to the venue of the protests. “I avoided it as I did not want to interact with anti-social elements involved in the protest,” he stated.

Trouble was triggered on campus when a third-year woman student of BFA was harassed by some motorcycle-borne men near the Bharat Kala Bhawan as she was returning to her hostel in Triveni complex around 7pm on Thursday.

She reported the matter to proctorial board's security personnel but instead of helping her they asked her why she was out after sunset.

Consequently, on Friday morning, women boarders staged a demonstration at the BHU's Lanka gate and were joined by other students of MMV and IIT-BHU. Their charter of demands included round-the-clock security, making security personnel accountable for untoward incidents targeting girls, proper lighting on routes leading to the hostels, a CCTV network, checks at all entry gates, recruitment of women security personnel and formation of a gender sensitisation committee.

While the BHU authorities were tight-lipped, some highly placed sources claimed that the entire showdown was pre-planned and scheduled for September 22, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Varanasi.

“But the administration got a whiff of it and did not let it happen then,” said a source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

BHU spokesman Rajesh Kumar Singh alleged that the girls were instigated by those who were ousted from the varsity in previous incidents of violence in the past. He alleged that the protest was politically motivated and it was timed with the PM's visit.

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