Amid the controversy that has unfolded over the sexual harassment of a student in the Banaras Hindu University Campus last Saturday, reports suggest that Vice Chancellor GC Tripathi has been asked to go on leave by the HRD Ministry. Search for a new VC has been set into motion.
A ministry source told Indian Express "A file with six names will be sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan in the next few days, from which the President will appoint three nominees to the search and selection committee. The V-C's post will also be advertised soon."
Tripathi is set to retire on November 27. Clearly, the VC's comments after the allegations of sexual harassment on campus has made the government uncomfortable.
A probe by the Varanasi divisional commissioner was also blamed Tripathi for the violence on campus.
A government source told Indian Express, "Well, the remarks about him are not laudatory in the reports received by us. The question is whether he agrees to go on leave before that (November 27) or not. This is a call for him to take."
Tripathi, since the girl's complaint, has dismissed the allegation over and over again. He has also blamed the girl for roaming around late at night. Thing went from bad to worse when students protesting inaction over the incident were lathicharged inside campus.
The woman student of Arts faculty had alleged harassment by three men on a motorcycle inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel.
The three men had 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.
Students have alleged that they have to face sexual harassment on a regular basis. But a defiant and stubborn Tripathi has kept on denying all these allegations.
He told Indian Express in an interview:
"This is a rumour that girls are scared or insecure on campus. Where Thursday's incident happened, there is an amphitheatre where girls play sports wearing shorts. Ask them if they have any fear. This is not right to say that the BHU campus is unsafe for women. No such incident has ever happened since I took over as the V-C. No girl or student feels unsafe anywhere on campus. The only ones who always feel so are members of student bodies like AISA and SFI."
Apart from the controversy over the sexual harassment case, Tripathi, it seems, has been trying to appoint new faculty members including a hospital head accused of sexual harassment.
According to government rules, an outgoing VC cannot make appointment for the last two months of his tenure.