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NCW report finds lapses on part of BHU administration in campus flare-up

The panel said had the BHU vice-chancellor reacted on time, the violence in the campus could have been avoided.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2017 23:47 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta and Neelam Pandey
Moushumi Das Gupta and Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
National Commission for Women,NCW,BHU harassment
Heavy police force deployed outside the Banaras Hindu University after protest erupted over police laticharge on the female students of the university in September.(PTI File Photo)

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has found glaring lapses on the part of Benaras Hindu University (BHU) authorities in responding to sexual harassment complaint of a girl student that resulted in violence that erupted in the college campus in September.

In its report submitted to the Union Human Resource and Development (HRD) ministry last week, the two-member committee headed by NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has said that had the BHU vice-chancellor reacted on time and listened to students’ complaints, the violence that erupted in BHU campus in September could have been avoided.

Sources said the HRD ministry is looking into the report and has also expedited the process of appointment of a new V-C. Under fire for his handling of protests Girish Chandra Tripathi had proceeded on leave, citing personal reasons.

In its report, the NCW fact finding team also said that incidents of harassment such as eve-teasing of girl students in the campus were rampant, perpetuated mainly by illegal occupants in the campus hostels.

NCW is a statutory body formed to protect and promote the interest of women.

In September, students had staged a protest against the alleged inaction on the complaint and were cane-charged by the police. The alleged sexual harassment victim, a hosteller at BHU, had lodged the complaint with the vice-chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi.

She was allegedly molested by men on motorcycles. The students had also accused the proctor of not taking their complaint seriously. They were more upset when Tripathi blamed the complainant for staying out late.

The report notes that many of these occupants had passed out of the University but were continuing to stay in the hostel illegally. The BHU administration denied the allegations that the authorities did not act swiftly but maintained that there were gaps that are being filled now.

“There are a number of miscreants who have been illegally staying in the hostels with their friends who are part of the university. Since the incident we have been carrying out inspections and door-to-door quick survey to identify such students and have suspended four students in connection with that,” Royona Singh, chief proctor, BHU said.

“The campus is huge (1,350 acre of land) so we have given priority for lighting and CCTV cameras to hostel areas, hospitals. They are all high definition and students feel a sense of safety because of them. We have also formed quick response time and I am a member of that. I personally take rounds of the campus at 2 am and 4 am . If there is any complaint it is taken up seriously. Right from the teachers to security guards everyone is being sensitized and the situation is much better now. NCW has informed us about the issues and we are looking into,” she said.

The NCW found safety inside the campus as well as hostel premises was poor, which aided anti-social elements, according to the report, which said the authorities turned a blind eye to previous complaints of girl students.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 23:47 IST