Police students clash over eve teasing spat at BHU campus
VARANASI,Sept25: Tension prevailed on the BHU campus on Sunday even as the city witnessed protests and minor skirmishes after a night of violence and arson over the issue of eve-teasing. Except for minor scuffles between police and a group of students trying to take out a peace march, no other untoward incident took place on the campus. The university administration has advanced the puja holidays from September 28 to 25. The campus will now be opened on October 3.
On Saturday night, protests against the alleged sexual harassment of a student took a violent turn on the campus when seven students, including girls, and two journalists were injured in lathicharge. Police were able to bring the situation under control only by 3 am on Sunday . Tension prevailed on the campus through the day , forcing the university administration to advance the puja holidays from September 28 to 25. The campus will now be opened on October 3.
The protesting students were trying to enter the vicechancellor’s house on Saturday night when they were caned.
In retaliation, students reportedly hurled petrol bombs and resorted to brick-batting in which some policemen were injured. Violence erupted at BHU hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi left his Lok Sabha constituency after a two-day visit. Taking cognizance of the violence, CM Aditya Nath Yogi has sought a report from divisional commissioner Nitin Gokarn. With the campus under the shadow of over 1,500 securitymen on Sunday, frantic political activity took place outside with former student union leaders, academics and employees taking out an all-party march. UP Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar and former Congress MP PL Punia were detained while trying to reach the campus, but were released later. Security forces staged a flag march late Sunday evening.
The district administration also announced that other universities, including Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University and colleges affiliated to them, would remain closed till October 2.
Trouble started in BHU on the night of September 21 when students of a girls’ hostel sat on protest following the sexual harassment of a student of visual arts near Bharat Kala Bhawan.
The girl was harassed by three boys on a motorcycle while she was returning to her hostel in Triveni complex and students alleged that campus security guards who were standing just 100 metres from the spot didn’t react.
The victim said her war den, instead of taking up the issue, asked her why she was returning to her hostel late.The warden’s response angered the fellow inmates, who sat on a `dharna’ after Thursday. In all, three FIRs had been lodged by the BHU administration–first for the sexual harassment of the girl student on September 21 evening, second for the violence on the campus and the third for display of provocative photograph on a Facebook page `BHU Buzz’ that was used for live streaming of violence on Saturday night.
The students who sat on a dharna after September 21 midnight continued their protests at the women’s college on September 22, the day Modi landed in the city . This forced the administration to change the route of PM’s convoy which was to cross the area to visit the Durga Kund temple on Friday evening.
The sit-in continued throughout Saturday. A heavy posse of security forces stationed on the campus gate didn’t allow the protesters to come out as the PM was in town.
However, violence erupted on Saturday night when a group of girl students accompanied by some boys tried to enter the V-C’s house to meet him.
The security guards of the university stopped them and the police were informed.BHU administration said subsequently , there was stone-pelting by `outsiders’ who had joined the students.
BHU later issued a statement saying the ‘dharna’ by the students just a day before the PM’s visit was `politically motivated’ to malign the image of the university.
DM Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SSP RK Bhardwaj said that police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control.