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Female security guards take charge at Banaras Hindu University

The BHU administration constituted the all-woman squad on the suggestion of district magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra.

lucknow Updated: Oct 04, 2017 18:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
Banaras Hindu University,BHU,BHU violence
Heavy police force deployed outside the Banaras Hindu University as Samajwadi Party workers protest over the police laticharge on the female students of the university, in Varanasi on September 25.(PTI File Photo)

Seven women have been appointed as security guards at the Banaras Hindu University, in a first at the century-old institute which was rocked by violence last month during a students’ protest against alleged sexual abuse on campus.

The baton-charge by male police personnel on protesting students had sparked nationwide outrage, and put the spotlight on lack of security for women at the sprawling campus in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency.

The varsity reopened on Tuesday after an extended Dusherra holiday, announced a day after the violence on September 24.

Royana Singh, the first woman chief proctor of the varsity, told HT on Wednesday seven women guards have been appointed and “28 more will join soon”.

The BHU administration constituted the all-woman squad on the suggestion of district magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra.

BHU vice-chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi, accused of mishandling the situation during the protests, went on leave recently, less than two months before his retirement. Tripathi also faced allegations of bias against women, a charge he denies.

Singh said thenewly-appointed security guards underwent motivational and security training at the UP Ex-Servicemen Welfare Board. They have been deployed at Mahila Maha Vidyalaya on the BHU premises.

They will keep a vigil on visitors and also on the roads leading to the women’s hostels, she added.

Male security personnel will be on standby for emergencies.

“Ensuring security of the girls in such a large campus is a big responsibility. We will try our level best to ensure security to the girls,” said Kanchan Singh, on of the guards.

Officials said BHU spends around Rs 14 crore on security arrangements annually. Till now BHU’s security squad comprised 700 security personnel, all of them men.

The other women guards will be deployed at the women’s hostels. BHU has 83 hostels, 22 of them for women.

Some of the students said the move was long overdue.

“This is a welcome step. How effective it will be will be clear in days to come. Installation of CCTV cameras on the premises will also help preventing the incident like that happened in the evening of September 21 on the premises,” said a student requesting anomynity, referring to the alleged sexual assault of a fellow-student by two motor-cycle borne men.

When the woman complained to the V-C about the incident, he had allegedly said that female students should not go out at night, sparking the protests.

In efforts to enhance security, the BHU administration has installed 30 surveillance cameras, halogen lamps at 15 locations on the roads leading to the girls’ hostels.

First Published: Oct 04, 2017 17:37 IST