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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

BHU tense after police crackdown, CM Adityanath seeks report: 5 things to know

Several students, mostly women, and policemen were wounded in clashes after university guards and policemen cane-charged protesters at the Banaras Hindu University.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2017 12:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Varanasi policemen at the Banaras Hindu University campus after clashes with student on Saturday night.
Varanasi policemen at the Banaras Hindu University campus after clashes with student on Saturday night.(Rajesh Kumar/HT Photo)

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has sought a report from the divisional commissioner as tension runs high at the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi after a police crackdown on students demonstrating against an alleged molestation.

Various political parties, including the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, have criticised the government and condemned the police action.

Here are five things to know about the incident and its aftermath:

1) Why the police crackdown?

Several students, mostly women, and policemen were wounded in clashes after university guards and cops cane-charged protesters in front of the vice chancellor’s home and at the main entrance to the century-old institution’s sprawling campus around midnight on Saturday.

The violence erupted after some protesting students wanted to meet the vice chancellor at his residence. A BHU spokesperson said some students wanted to “forcibly” enter the VC’s residence but they were stopped by the BHU security guards.

The fracas forced the university to bring forward its Dussehra break by three days to September 25. Several other Uttar Pradesh universities, too, advanced their festival holidays to prevent the unrest from spreading and engulfing their institutes.

2) What triggered the protests?

A woman student of the Arts Faculty was allegedly molested by three motorcycle-borne men inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel on Thursday, triggering the dharna.

According to the complainant, the men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts.

The woman alleged that security guards, about 100 metres from where the incident happened, did nothing to stop them.

She said her warden, instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked her why was she was returning late to the hostel.

3) Yogi Adityanath asks for report

The Uttar Pradesh CM said in Lucknow on Sunday: “I have sought a report from the divisional commissioner, Varanasi, about the entire incident.”

4) Political parties condemn incident

The Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted after the police crackdown: “The government should resolve the issue by talks, not by lathicharge. It is condemnable. Action should be taken against the guilty.”

Congress leaders Raj Babbar and PL Punia, along with scores of party activists, were detained when they tried to visit the BHU. They were later released.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP over the police lathicharge allegedly on woman students.

Attaching a link to a video of the students who alleged that they were beaten up by male policemen at the campus, Gandhi tweeted: “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU.”

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “Only a barbaric govt unleashes male police with lathis on women students. Why is BJP-RSS so scared of students?”

Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav denounced the alleged police action against the students and said the issue will be raised in Parliament.

5) Early Dussehra break at all Varanasi institutions

Following the violence, the district administration declared holidays from Monday till October 2 in all colleges and universities in Varanasi. The BHU had earlier announced that the holidays would start from September 28.

The university also said that security guards were regularly patrolling the campus and assistance from the police had been sought to maintain peace in the campus.

A press release issued by the information department of Varanasi said that a case has been registered against a Facebook page under the cyber law for allegedly posting provocative photos and videos relating to the violence.

With inputs from Press Trust of India

First Published: Sep 25, 2017 08:53 IST

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