RTIwala Explains BHU protest: A university that has carved a niche for itself in the history of Indian Education System was stained today. Banaras Hindu University ( BHU) saw police assault on a woman student who was part of a student’s protest on the campus. The use of force took place last night as the students made yet another attempt to meet the Vice-Chancellor to discuss the question of women’s safety on the campus. This physical assault has led to another turn in this issue. The students have been raging about the women safety lapses as of late.
BHU Protest: The Story Behind
The students have been protesting against the university administration. The students had alleged inaction and victim shaming after a first-year student who proclaimed she was molested in the campus. The first-year student had alleged that three bike-borne men had harassed her inside the campus on Thursday evening in presence of security guards. The hostel warden, instead of taking up the issue with the administration, had blamed her. This is where the BHU protest began in the first place. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered an inquiry and asked the Varanasi Commissioner to submit a report. BHU Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi has promised action and said installation of CCTV cameras is under process, following the BHU protest.
The Ground Zero Report of the BHU protest
The latest leaked video of the BHU protest, shows policemen charging towards the protesting women near the hostel gates. All the women except one run inside. A policeman pushes the woman, who falls to the ground. Then two others begin thrashing her with batons. No woman constable can be seen in the footage. The students say the police used force without any provocation and even tried to enter the women’s hostel. The students alleged that campus security and police hit the protesters with lathis, pulled many of them by their hair and dragged them out of the spot.
The police have claimed that they were provoked into using batons. Now it comes as a surprise how a peaceful protest could lead to provocation to assault. The women, they said, got caught in the violence, during which at least three motorcycles were set on fire. The college, called the BHU protest, a politically motivated one. College authorities claim that about 80% of the protesters are outsiders.
BHU Protest: The Political Blame Game
The entire scenario has shot the political blame game. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the police violence was the “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU”. The opposition Congress and the Samajwadi Party has sharply criticized the BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath. The attack took place a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Varanasi, which is his Lok Sabha constituency. Sharp criticism has snapped on the administration.
Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, lathi charge on BHU students is condemnable. The government must find solutions through talks and not force. There should be action against those involved.” Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said it has never happened at BHU. “We will raise the issue in Parliament. It is intolerable in a democracy and the government should apologize,” he said. After the police assault, many students with injuries have arrived at the trauma center in BHU hospital. The situation remains tense as the BHU protest doesn’t seem to end here. Such is the case, that the fracas forced the university to bring forward its Dussehra break by three days to September 25. Several other Uttar Pradesh universities, too, have advanced their festival holidays to prevent the unrest from spreading and engulfing their institutes.
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It would be essential to see how CM Yogi tackles this hassle. It would be a major task to see that the protest of fire doesn’t spread throughout other major universities. At the same time, it is a matter of concern too. Same situations like the Delhi University- GurMehar Kaur case could originate. The students uprising against political powers, however, could certainly usher a new era, ‘An era of hope’.
(Inputs by Gehna Kundra)