Students Protesting Against Sexual Harassment in BHU Thrashed by the Police
September 25, 2017
In yet another low the Uttar Pradesh police unleashed sheer terror on students of Banaras Hindu University who were protesting against the alleged molestation of a student.
Videos show the police gathering in strength outside the gates of BHU, and then rushing through to attack the protestors with lathis. Students were dragged by the hair, thrashed mercilessly with several left injured. Girl students were not spared either. The District Magistrate of Varanasi denied these reports.
Students gathered in protest when a first year fine arts student of BHU said she was molested by three men on a motorcyle just outside the BHU campus on Thursday, She said that she had complained to the University administration about this incident but the authorities instead of promising action, reportedly rebuked and shamed her for her hostel timings.
The confrontation intensified since the first students gathered in protest on Thursday asking for security and action. BHU administration issued a media release maintaining that the protest was political in nature, that it had forced a change in the Prime Ministers route during his visit to the constituency, and that it was motivated. It denied reports that the girl student had tonsured her head in protest, and released a Facebook picture to prove that photographs being circulated were of an incident quite apart from this.
The usual charges of “anti national” forces “exploiting” the situation were made, with the university authorities insisting that the protests were the “work of propagandists.” Initially on Friday the cops claimed that they were acting as a bridge between the Vice Chancellor and the students and he had agreed to come to “a suitable area ,such as the Mahila University conference, and talk to a group of students”, but the students wanted him to come to the protest site at the gates which the police did not think was safe. The cops confirmed that a group of three students had met him.
The students, were agitating for an unconditional apology from the university to the victim, gender sensitisation of all faculty and office bearers, better lighting all across the campus, deployment of guards, and removal of curfew timings for women in the hostels.
The students refused to withdraw the protest and on Saturday evening the police was directed to disperse them using force.
First published in The Citizen
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