Free Press Journal

BHU: New flashpoint in Yogistan, students protesting caned


Varanasi/Lucknow: Things are getting out of hand in Yogistan:  a cell phone video has surfaced that shows two policemen raining blows on a woman student of the Banaras Hindu University. She was among the students who were protesting against the university administration’s alleged inaction and victim shaming after a first-year student said she was molested on the campus on Thursday. A number of other women students, including two journalists, were also injured in the lathi charge.

The video shows policemen charging towards the protesting women near the hostel gates. All the women, except one, ran inside. A policeman pushed the woman who remained outside to the ground. She fell but the two police men kept hitting her with batons. No woman constable can be seen in the footage.

The students alleged that the police used force without any provocation and even tried to enter the women’s hostel. Congress leader Raj Babbar was detained when he tried to visit the BHU campus. Incidentally, the attack took place a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Varanasi, which is his Lok Sabha constituency.

It is learnt the VC was upset with the protesters for smearing Pandit Malviya’s statue on the campus with black ink.  In the wakeof the violence, the university has announced “holidays” from Monday till October 2.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the police violence was the “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU”.  Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “Lathicharge 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 apologise,” he said.

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 way. Last night, the BHU authorities had issued a statement, saying the ‘dharna’ by the students just a day before PM Modi’s visit was “politically motivated” to malign the image of the university. Fourteen students have been detained.

BHU students have alleged they have to face eve-teasers on the campus regularly and the varsity administration was not taking any action to stop the miscreants. Police and BHU professors tried to pacify the students, but they refused to end their protest and sought assurance from the university vice chancellor.