In the wake of the agitation at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), the administration registered FIRs against 1,000 students in Lanka police station for arson.
Furthermore, Station Officer (SO) of Lanka police station Rajiv Singh, Circle Officer (CO) Belapur Nivesh Katiyar and three Additional City Magistrate Manoj Kumar Singh, Sushil Kumar Gaund and Jagdamma Prasad Singh have been removed prima facie for executing the charge, reported The Indian Express.
On Friday, September 22, a first-year student and resident of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) hostel was molested and grabbed by three men on a motorcycle just outside the campus. The university guards and officials paid no heed to her cries of help and justice, instead responded to her with misogynist remarks. They further tried to shame her by insisting that she should have been careful about moving alone in the dark. Even her hostel warden tried to blame her for the mishap.
The students of BHU decided to stand in solidarity with the young woman and voiced their condemnation at the university’s failure to protect her. A large number of students gathered near the Lanka Gate of the campus on Friday morning and shouted slogans. They demanded to meet the Vice Chancellor, Girish Chandra Tripathi. Soon a large contingent of police arrived.
Atrocities by the police
Taking their demonstration to the VC’s house on Saturday, the students were met with deplorable action from the police who attacked them with lathis and used smoke and tear grenades to disperse the crowd. They also vandalized the bikes parked outside hostel gates. A few students reported that the police threw stones on the protestors in order to incite them and delegitimize their agitation.
Yesterday, a cellphone video emerged of male police personnel thrashing female students.
The unarmed students can be heard screaming, ‘Kaise usko maar sakte hai?’ (How can they (police) beat her?) as they try to close the gates on the enraged police who continue thrashing the gates with their lathis.
On Saturday, the VC stated that many of the protestors were outsiders and were politically motivated, citing the PM’s visit to the city. He also said that he sent a delegation of teachers to communicate with the students and listen to their demands.
But the students firmly insist that the VC himself should come and meet them. The Logical Indian contacted some of the students, who told us that in earlier events of eve-teasing and victim-harassment, the VC similarly sent out his delegation to listen to their demands but nothing happened on ground. Also this time, when they were told that the VC will be coming to meet them, some of the protesting students started to go back to their hostels, after which the hostels were locked up and students were beaten.
The Logical Indian take
The incident at BHU isn’t an isolated one and points to the inherent patriarchy and misogyny that our society and our educational institutions are plagued with.
All the students demanded was that the university safeguards them but their demands for basic human rights were met with such animosity. Instead of accepting its flawed management, the university officials resorted to victim blaming and shaming.
Most of the universities in India have a 6pm curfew for women to ‘protect’ them. What is this protection which involves locking students inside campuses?
It is time that our educational institutions set an example by treating its male and female students as equals and condemning gender-based violence at every possible chance. Deploying police to lathicharge the ones who expect to be protected is endorsing violence; nothing less than a crime.