BHU molestation case: No arrests made, students allege a previous incident of molestation by bike-borne men, institute puts in security measures

Protesting BHU students reveal another case of molestation by bike-borne men days prior to this incident, Station House Officer (SHO) of Lanka police station Ashwini Pandey sent back to the lines for “dereliction of duty” even as Congress state president, Ajay Rai alleges involvement of ABVP members in the November 1 molestation of a woman student
Image: ANI

Students at the Varanasi-based Benaras Hindu University (BHU) have been protesting in large numbers at the campus for the past week, to demand justice for the victim and a safer campus for all students, even as no arrests have been made so far in the shocking case of disrobing and violent molestation of a woman student on the late evening of November 1, last Wednesday. Students have also revealed another case of molestation days prior to the November 1 incident by bike-borne men on the campus. Meanwhile, police have told the media that Station House Officer (SHO) of Lanka police station Ashwini Pandey sent back to the lines for “dereliction of duty”

Several media reports have revealed the open clashes taking place between various student member groups at the institutions and attempts by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of creating chaos. According to a report in the English Jagran, a scuffle broke out between student members of the ABVP, All India Students Association (AISA) and the Bhagat Singh Chatra Morcha (BCM) on November 5. With the ABVP accused of “being violent and unjust by the BCM, the office bearers of the ABVP have, accused members of the AISA and the BCM of “starting the scuffle.”

The “clash” between the groups escalated to the extent that the police had to intervene and light force was used to disperse them. According to the Jagran report, the members of AISA had planned to burn effigies of PM Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Vice Chancellor of BHU and the Principal of Women’s College, BHU. When the ABVP members tried to snatch the effigy, a scuffle broke out. In turn, , the members of the ABVP had themselves indulged in burning effigies of Uttar Pradesh Congress president, Ajay Rai, who had recently issued a statement accusing the ABVP members in connection with the aforementioned incident of sexual harassment with the female student.

According to Rai, persons associated with ABVP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) were involved in the incident of sexual harassment. Rai had attacked the government by alleging that the government had appointed people associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in universities leading to the saffronisation of universities. He demanded immediate arrest of the people associated with the Sangh who were encouraging ABVP workers, a report by the India Herald provided.

Police yet to make any arrests, another incident comes to light

Shockingly, no arrests have been made by the police in connection with the case so far.. As per a report of Times of India, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Bhelupur, Praveen Kumar Singh has stated that the ­­­­. Police officers have stated that apart from the university guards, police constables have also been deployed at the entry gates of the institute. The police have also assured that specialised teams have been assembled to pursue the culprits.

Even as the police dithers from taking any concrete action, protesting students have revealed that another female student had faced a similar ordeal two days before the aforementioned incident on November 1. According to the Free Press Journal (FPJ), Pranav Suresh, vice-president of IIT-BHU Students’ Parliament, a students’ group of the institute, in a video statement stated that on October 30, another such incident of sexual violence had taken place.  “While the current incident occurred on Wednesday night, another female student was molested by three men who touched her inappropriately and fled from the spot on Monday night,” the report provided.

It was further alleged by Suresh that the victim had lodged a complaint regarding the matter with the proctorial board. Suresh had also claimed that such incidents have become common on the campus and are committed by outsiders who easily enter the campus. Notably, ACP Singh had denied having any information on the Monday incident and stated, “The university administration has not informed us about any such incident.”

Meanwhile, on November 4, ABVP members protested Ajay Rai’s statement by, in turn, staging a protest and burning effigies of Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Rai. The ABVP had also demanded punitive measures against Rai for his claims. An FIR had also been filed at the Lanka police by the ABVP members against Rai on November 3. He has been booked under Section 505(2) (statement conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.

On November 5, four days after the shocking recent case of disrobing and molestation of a woman stident, abuse and harassment reported from inside the campus Banaras Hindu University and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) BHU, a joint meeting of the administrations was organised to raise the issue of student security. According to a press release, both the administrations have decided to take measures on surveillance, CCTV coverage, and lighting on the roads. Notably, the meeting was attended by BHU vice-chancellor Sudhir Kumar Jain, IIT BHU director Pramod Kumar Jain and other top functionaries.

The press release details the measures that both the institutions will be employing for ensuring the safety and peaceful and peaceful living of students of the campuses. Among the measures, the institutes state that proper lighting will be provided on the campus within the next two days along with strengthened security barriers and strict enforcement of security protocol. “All the seven gates of the campus are being under strict check from 10 pm to 5 am to restrict the entry of anti-social elements,” the official statement added.

Furthermore, the institutions emphasised that the already existing women’s grievance cells at IIT (BHU) and BHU will be strengthened and more participation from students was encouraged. The institutes have also formed a joint committee of faculty members which would work towards safety of students.

On the night of November 1, a female engineering student of IIT-BHU was allegedly molested and stripped by three motorcycle-borne men near her hostel. According to the complaint lodged by the victim, she was out with a friend on the IIT-BHU campus on Wednesday night when the incident took place. The duo were near the Karman Baba temple when three men came there on a motorcycle and forcibly took her to a corner and gagged her after separating her from her friend. The three accused then stripped the victim, made a video of her and clicked photos. As per her complaint, she was let go after 15 minutes. The three accused took her phone number, the complaint had stated. An FIR (First Information Report) had been lodged based upon the complaint. A massive protest by hundreds of students had taken place after the incident had been reported.

On the issue of constructing a boundary wall between the two campuses, a demand raised by the students over the recent incident of women violence, the members of the meeting resolved not to create a boundary wall between the two educational institutions as they believed that it will not solve the problem and is not feasible. The official statement provided that “It was unanimously agreed upon that in the current situation, in which many faculty buildings and other units/services such as hospital, sewage system, power/water supply, post office, roads leading to the campus, entry gates etc. are jointly shared, it is not feasible to isolate/divide the campus with a boundary wall. Both the institutions reiterated their commitment for ensuring safety of students in the campus as a whole and to take necessary measures as and when needed.” The institutes have urged students to extend their cooperation and resolved to implement the measures in “full-force”.

The complete press release can be read here:



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