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BHU unrest: PM Modi, Shah call on Yogi; Congress calls for VC's sacking

Congress wants BHU VC sacked, demands enquiry by HC judge

Agencies  |  Varanasi | New Delhi 

Heavy police personnel deployed at Banaras Hindu University where students were holding a protest in Varanasi, late Saturday night.
Heavy police personnel deployed at Banaras Hindu University where students were holding a protest in Varanasi, late Saturday night.

Several officials are in the dock after the violence at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) on Saturday night as Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister has asked for a report from the Varanasi Police Commissioner regarding the incident.

The agitation by woman students against a sexual harassment incident turned violent at the campus in Varanasi on Saturday night when they took their protest to the vice-chancellor's (VC's) office and started shouting slogans. They were also joined by men from other hostels.

In the ensuing police action, students and several reporters became victims of a baton-charge led by 1,500-strong police force. The police reportedly refused to allow the reporters to enter the trauma centre for emergency aid.

After the angry media personnel surrounded the Chief Minister's house on Sunday, Adityanath informed them that a report has been sought from the Police Commissioner through twitter.

As the situation remains tense, the BHU, along with other universities of the district, has been told to remain shut till October 2.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has suggested that the state government defuse the tension through talks instead of using force.

Yadav has sent an eight-member representative group to Varanasi to take stock of the situation.

PM Modi, Shah speak to Yogi about the incident

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah have spoken to UP CM Aditynanath following the incident at and asked him to redress the issue at the earliest. 

"The incident is unfortunate. Any amount of sadness expressed over it is not adequate," Union minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters in New Delhi on Monday. 

He said that Modi and Shah have spoken to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister and asked him to redress the issue as soon as possible. 

Congress wants VC sacked, demands enquiry by HC judge

Criticising PM Modi for his silence over the violence, the Congress on Monday demanded sacking of the university vice-chancellor and an enquiry by a sitting High Court judge.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that while Modi is vocal on almost all issues, his silence over the violence on girls in his own parliamentary constituency Varanasi is questionable.

"What has been happening in this centre of learning over the last two days is absolutely preposterous and shocking. Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of the Prime Minister and his government runs a campaign 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao'.

"What is playing itself out in his own constituency is the perpetration of the most unspeakable atrocities on girl students who were protesting against eve-teasing and alleged molestation and demanding a safer campus," said Tewari.

He also took on VC G C Tripathi, stating that it was shameful on his part to have suggested that girl students not step outside the hostel after 6 pm.

"We would like to ask the Prime Minister that does such a person deserve to be the Vice-Chancellor of one of India's most premier universities.

"One who is so insensitive to the genuine concerns of women students and rather than empathising with them, the university goes and colludes in the most barbaric lathi-charge," he added.

"There's a big difference between his (Modi) words and actions... On one side, he calls for educating and protecting the girl child and when girls go to study, they are molested," he added.

Calling the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh insensitive, Tewari said: "Instead of taking strict action against the culprits, Uttar Pradesh police rather resorted to baton charge on the girls. What kind of administration is this?"

Terming the BJP government in the state "fascist in nature" and "undemocratic", Tewari said an FIR should be lodged against the official who ordered the baton-charge.

The party demanded that President Ram Nath Kovind, who is the Visitor of the University, should immediately take cognisance of what has happened in and sack the VC.

"We also demand that there should be an enquiry by a sitting High Court judge, who should go into all the facts and circumstances as to how this atrocity was perpetrated and hold all those people who were responsible for ordering the cane-charge to account," he added.

"We would like to know from Modi where does he stand on this atrocity which has been perpetrated on women students in his own parliamentary constituency," Tewari also said.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday hit out at the BJP government by uploading a news report and tweeted: "BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU".

Women activists, students protest police action on campus

Scores of activists belonging to women's groups and student organisations on Monday protested the lathi-charge on women students of Banaras Hindu University, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. 

Richa Singh, the first woman president of the Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU), alleged that after targeting Muslims and Dalits, the BJP was now aiming at women. 

She alleged women students of were "molested" thrice -- "first when three motorcycle-borne men molested an Arts Faculty student, second when police barged into their hostels and third when the vice-chancellor shamed the victim". 

Singh said that instead of bringing the culprits to book, the varsity's vice-chancellor was busy identifying the protesters. 

All India Progressive Women's Association Secretary Kavita Krishnan said, "Security of our freedom is our constitutional right, and no government, no VC can take that away." 

JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said women students of were "fighting to defend their autonomy". 

All India Students' Association's president Sucheta De said, "The movement is a declaration of freedom for all women across the country. Women are demanding justice and fighting against sexist rules, moral policing and victim shaming.

First Published: Tue, September 26 2017. 08:43 IST