LUCKNOW: The ongoing student unrest at the Banaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh turned violent late on Saturday night after students and police clashed on the campus. Several female students and two journalists were reported to have been injured in the police action.
Protests began on the campus on Friday as the university authorities, students claimed, refused to act on complaints of sexual harrassment. The protest, mostly by female students, was peaceful till Saturday night. On Friday, students held a 13-hour demonstration at the main gate of the university while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a visit to the holy city.
Sources claimed the protest turned violent on Saturday after inmates of the boys hostel pledged their support. They allegedly tried to barge into Vice-Chancellor GC Tripathi’s residence to lodge their protest, prompting the police to resort to lathi-charge. The violence quickly spiralled into heavy brick-batting, arson and vandalism. The police and campus authorities accused students of attacking the security forces with stones and even petrol bombs.
The protestors claimed their demands were only for the VC to visit them, listen to their demands and take action against eve-teasers. They also demanded better security for girls on campus. The VC is understood to have remained silent on the demands. Finally, after the violence on Sunday, the police lodged FIRs against the eve-teasers, and protesters. An FIR was also lodged against those who were alleged to have provoked the students through a Facebook page called the ‘BHU buzz’. The protest was live-streamed on the page.
It all began after a girl was harassed by some miscreants near the Bharat Kala Bhawan while she was returning to her hostel in Triveni complex around 7 pm last week. Despite reporting the matter to the proctorial board’s security personnel, she got no help. Instead, she was asked why she was out of the hostel after sunset. The incident and resultant protest have exposed major loopholes in the security of women on the campus, the protesters said.
VC Tripathi claimed he did not meet the students as there were ‘intelligence inputs’ hinting there could be more trouble if he went to the venue of the protest. He claimed the violence was the handiwork of some outside elements. “They joined the girl students and made arrangements to vitiate the campus atmosphere,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked the government over the issue. “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU,” he said, reacting to the attacks on female students.
Police presence at the campus was intensified on Sunday, with SP (city) Dinesh Singh camping on the spot. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has sought a report from the Commissioner.
1. What kicked-off the protests?
A woman student was allegedly harassed by men on a bike. This triggered protests, which began on Friday, against the spike in eve-teasing incidents on campus. Protesting students allegedly tried to barge into the Vice Chancellor’s house
2. How did the violence erupt?
Security guards stopped the protesters and called the police. The students then attacked security forces with stones and even petrol bombs, said university sources, adding that the police resorted to lathicharge
3. What’s the situation now?
The police have registered FIRs against the eve-teasers and protesters. Nearly 1,500 cops are deployed in and around the campus. CM Yogi Adityanath has sought a report from the Commissioner. The university will be shut from today