VARANASI: Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi today condemned the recent violence on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, and said that students should be cautious of attempts to divide them for "petty electoral goals".
He also applauded the girl student, who was molested, for displaying courage and filing a complaint against her tormentors.
"Whatever happened in BHU, it pains me. But I would like to say, first of all, that the girl who was molested is a courageous Indian girl who represents the voice of India. She has broken her silence and filed the complaint, so I definitely applaud her courage.
"The way some of the staff members, watchmen/security guards treated her is objectionable and unacceptable which again shows the age-old mindsets that the victim could be stigmatised and blamed, instead of taking stringent action against those who were responsible for molestation," he told PTI over phone from his native Vidisha district in Madhya Pradesh.
A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in a lathicharge by the police in BHU where a protest on September 23 against an alleged eve-teasing turned violent. The violence erupted after some students, protesting against the eve-teasing of a woman two days earlier, wanted to meet the varsity's vice-chancellor at his residence, but was denied entry.
Satyarthi said, "Violence in any form by anyone has to be opposed and that should not be used as a weapon by the youth and students anywhere... I strongly condemn any form of violence. I well understand the anger of young people but that should not be converted into violence and equally giving a cause to divisive politics."
"Most of times, politics divides youths and university students for petty electoral goals, So I would like to make an appeal to the youth to remain united and make their college and university campus safe, which is only possible through non-violence manner," he added.
He also called for measures such as gender sensitisation training to make university and college campuses safe for students, particularly women.
Satyarthi is on a nationwide march -- 'Bharat Yatra' against sexual abuses, molestation and rape.
A 'Bharat Yatra' was taken out in Varanasi today. Satyarthi took part on a similar march in Vidisha.
He said the march was a war against the "moral epidemic of child sexual abuse, trafficking and rape".
"This epidemic is rising because of our rotten, age-old mindsets. Our girls are taught to be silence, they are said that their dignity is lost, honour is lost, family honour is lost and so the victims are stigmatised, they are put to blames, and thus the perpetrators remain fearless and free," he added.