LUCKNOW: While the vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and the UP government confused each other by announcing different probes — one judicial and the other magisterial — into the violence on women students on campus, a preliminary report commissioned by the state government has already blamed the varsity for the events of last week.
The report by Varanasi divisional commissioner Nitin Ramesh Gokarn was submitted to the state’s chief secretary Rajive Kumar late Monday night. It squarely blamed the lackadaisical approach of the BHU administration for the flare-up on the campus.
This finding is curious as it comes a day after the Yogi Adityanath government transferred five of its own administration officials — three civil and two police — for the brutal beating of women students while they were protesting against the molestation of a woman student by unidentified men on campus last Thursday.
Although Gokarn did not divulge too many of his findings, he reported that the university ought to have handled the harassment victim’s complaint with more sensibility. “The administration did not deal with the complaint filed by the victim in a sensitive manner,” he reported.
The protests were triggered after a women student reported to the BHU security staff that she had been groped by three motorcycle-borne men as she was walking back to her hostel at about 6 pm. Instead of trying to nab the culprits, she was lectured about being out and about at that time of the evening.
Students who protested this indifference sought to make their case to vice-chancellor G C Tripathi but he refused to meet them if the proceedings were going to be live-streamed and in the presence of media crews.
In the face of criticism of his handling of the events on campus, Tripathi, in New Delhi ostensibly for a meeting of the Executive Council, stuck to his stance that the students’ protests were fuelled by rumour-mongering and instigation by outsiders.
Coming out of the meeting, Prof Tripathi claimed that the current row was a campus issue and the university was capable of handling it. While qualifying the trigger incident last Thursday as ‘eve-teasing’ rather than molestation, he said institutional prestige was equally a concern for him as individual well-being.
Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the inaction over eve-teasing complaint and harsh police action against students, the National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the UP government and BHU vice-chancellor asking for a detailed report within four weeks. In a statement, the NHRC said, “Suo motu cognizance taken in subsequent use of unwarranted manhandling and thrashing of agitating students, mostly women, by UP police.”