Three days after a young female student of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) was allegedly molested by three bike-borne men outside the varsity campus, Uttar Pradesh police lathicharged and allegedly thrashed protesting women students in the campus on late Saturday night.
The ongoing protest coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Varanasi, which is his home constituency. A protest against the alleged assault by police officers against students demanding a safe campus is now expected to take place in New Delhi on Monday.
It has been reported that the protesting students tried to enter the residence of University Vice Chancellor and when the deployed security forces tried to stop them, students became violent and attacked the police after which the security forces also used force and lathicharge on the students to disperse them.
The students alleged that the police thrashed them and dragged them through hair, but DM Varanasi, who was present on the spot, denied all such claims.
A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in lathicharge by the police in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) which witnessed violence last night, in an ugly turn to a protest against an alleged eve-teasing incident.
In the wake of the violence, the university has announced "holidays" from tomorrow till October 2, advancing it from September 28.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today sought a report from Divisional Commissioner about the incident as various political parties, including Samajwadi Party, criticised the government and condemned the police action.
A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in the lathicharge by the police. Some policemen were also injured in the clashes during which students indulged in arson, police sources said.
"I have sought a report from the Divisional Commissioner, Varanasi, about the entire incident."UP Chief Minister Adityanath
Violence erupted after some students, protesting against the alleged eve-teasing incident of Thursday, wanted to meet the Vice Chancellor at his residence last night, according to police and university sources. The security guards of the university stopped them and the police was informed, according to the University sources.
BHU spokesperson said some students wanted to "forcibly" enter the VC's residence but they were stopped by the security guards of the university. Subsequently, there was stone pelting by "outsiders" who had joined the students. Police used lathicharge to control the situation.
"I have sought a report from the Divisional Commissioner, Varanasi, about the entire incident," Adityanath said in Lucknow.
The lathicharge on journalists led to protests in Lucknow with some journalists staging a sit-in near the CM's residence. They later gave a memorandum to the District Magistrate demanding action against the guilty.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav condemned the lathicharge of the students in BHU.
"The government should resolve the issue by talks, not by lathicharge. It is condemnable. Action should be taken againt the guilty," Akhilesh tweeted.
Last night, the BHU issued a statement, saying the 'dharna' by the students just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit was "politically motivated" to malign the image of the university.
The university also said that security guards were regularly patrolling the campus and assistance from the police is sought from time-to-time to maintain peace in the campus.
Senior officials including District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and SP (city) Dinesh Singh reached the campus along with a large posse of police.
Nearly 1500 policemen including PAC personnel have been deployed in and around the campus to maintain law and order in the campus.
The BHU students have been protesting near the university's main gate since Thursday against the rising eve- teasing incidents on the campus.
The trigger was an incident in which a woman student of Arts faculty alleged harassment by three men on a motorcycle inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel.
The three men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts, according to the complainant.
The woman alleged that security guards, about 100 metres from where the incident happened, did nothing to stop the men. She said her warden, instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked her why was she was returning late to the hostel.
The warden's response angered the student's colleagues, who sat on a 'dharna' at the main gate midnight Thursday. One of the students even got her head tonsured.
BHU students have alleged they have to face eve-teasers on the campus regularly and the varsity administration was not taking any action to stop the miscreants. Police and BHU professors tried to pacify the students yesterday, but they refused to end their protest and sought assurance from the university vice chancellor.
A large number of police personnel have been deployed near the campus as a security precaution, said the police.
Angered over the laid back attitude of the administration and lack of action from the side, the varsity students staged protests outside the campus on Friday and blocked entry to the campus through the main gate.
(with agency inputs)
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