BHU Students Suspension Revoked, Criminal Cases by VC & Admin Stayed: SC

Agitating students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) scored a major victory yesterday when the Supreme Court’s three judge bench revoked suspension orders against them and stayed criminal cases lodged against them for agitating simple issues like 24 X & library facilities. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra directed the university to make special arrangements for eight students to conduct their semester exams till July 30.

This is seen as a big victory over an administration headed by Girish Tripathi an aggressive member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) For over three long and grisly years now, young students of the BHU have been protesting an administration trying to quell dissent, differences in political ideas and gender equality.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by the suspended students, through lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Neha Rathi, who had claimed that the action was taken by the varsity to supress their demands that the cyber library in the campus be opened 24X7, especially during examination time.
The students had staged a hunger-strike for their demand and due to that, the university administration had suspended them leading to a situation in which they missed their examinations and were evicted from their hostels in May 2016. The apex court had earlier issued notice to university registrar.
Sabrangindia has been consistently reporting on the students protests. Students were suspended for sitting in hunger strike demanding 24*7 library facilities. According to the BHU VC demanding library was against 'BHU norms'.
The ‘Norms at the BHU’ as defined by the VC are the following-
1. No need to study at library
2. Only RSS (Sangh) Shakhas will be allowed on BHU premises, no other form of discussion or political expression would be tolerated
3. Women should forego their own career for the career of their brothers.
4. Blatant sexist rules for women students.
Students have protested on braving suspension, but have continued the struggle in the spirit  of resistance and articulations of freedom. 
While revoking their suspension Thursday, and also staying the criminal proceedings initiated against, the top court, however, put the students to an oral examination in court by asking them questions about their studies.
After asking their lawyers not to argue the case, a three-judge bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra put the undergraduate and post-graduate students to questions like what is the ingredients of 'State' and who propounded the principle of 'Advaitwad'. The queries also ranged from philosophies of Immanuel Kant, Descarte and Nietzsche. Students replied that that they were merely demanding opening of cyber library 24×7 as promised in the University prospectus and went on hunger strike over it. They were arrested and sent to jail on lodging of criminal case after their suspension from May, last year, they said.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Mohan M Shantanagoudar told the students, "Every University has a discipline. If it is not possible to keep library open 24 hours, you have to follow rules and regulations". The bench told them, "On next date of hearing on August 28, you have to appear here again. All of you have to wear white shirts and keep your hair properly combed.”
The court directed University authorities to give the students gap of three days between two papers in their examination in order to provide them with time for preparations and release fellowship amounts that had been withheld within 14 days.

On September 23, 2016 Sabrangindia had carried this story by Hasiba Amin, part of the NSUI

She wrote of the changes in the university that were affecting its democratic structure and functioning

Saffronisation of BHU

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is a central university located in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. The current vice-chancellor, professor Girish Chandra Tripathi was appointed in late 2014 by a search panel that was led by the same man who was Modi’s proposer for his candidature as MP from his constituency.

The VC, a self-proclaimed RSS man, has allowed RSS cadres to hold rallies inside the prestigious campus. The VC himself has been seen hoisting the RSS’ student wing, ABVP’s flag on various occasions. With the aim of permeating their proxies into important posts of the university, the VC and the BHU administration have been practicing favoritism while appointing professors.

An RTI reply to a student has revealed that some teaching staff have even been appointed on the basis of stolen PhDs. Yet there has been no action. In a particular episode, an HOD pointed out to the vice-chancellor that a particular appointment as directed by the VC could not be made because the teacher lacked academic credentials.

The VC, in retaliation, asked the HOD to either accept his command without questioning him or resign; the HOD resigned. Such incidents have been taking place every second day across faculties. There is no space for those who question the ‘BHU dictatorship model’ and the administration is only happy to let them go.

Rampant misogyny on the campus
One may ask what really is wrong in RSS taking over an institution. To answer this, let’s understand the current situation in the university.

The right to dissent has been snatched away from students. There have been various instances where students have democratically been protesting in demand for basic rights. Such students have either been suspended or expelled. In a particular incident, students were on a hunger strike demanding a 24-hour open library; a facility that is promised in the university prospectus and was available to students prior to the current VC’s appointment.

Over 1,000 police personnel dragged the students out of campus, beat them brutally and they have now been suspended for two academic sessions. Over time, more than 20 student activists of the university, known to raise their voice, have been framed with serious criminal charges including attempt to murder.

Girls are being treated as second class citizens. Girls who enroll into the university have to get an undertaking signed from their parents that they will not participate in any form of protest and if caught doing so they will be removed from the hostel.

Girls are being treated as second class citizens. Girls who enroll into the university have to get an undertaking signed from their parents that they will not participate in any form of protest and if caught doing so they will be removed from the hostel. While boys hostel has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, the girls’ hostel serves only vegetarian food because apparently it is against ‘Malviya Mulya’.

Girls are not allowed to wear what they want to and have to report in their hostel latest by 8 pm while the boys’ hostel has no curfew time. If a girl is caught talking on her phone (even to her parents) after 10 pm by the warden or housekeeper, the phone gets confiscated and is returned only after their parents are informed about it. If a girl is seen with any boy, she is handed over to the proctor for ‘maligning the cultural and traditional values of our country’.

Representatives of the backward strata of the society have no space in this university. If one picks the list of HODs, important post holders or executive council of the university, the entire list only has ‘upper caste’ names. In such an environment, it is only natural that discrimination will flourish.

The annual budget of the university is nearly Rs 760 crore but the expenditure report is not published. In the past years, the annual report of expenditure used to be sent to the University Grants Commission (UGC). However, in the last two years whether this report has been sent or not is not known.

In this period various scams too have come to light such as – CT scan center scam, alumni gift scam, favoritism in teachers’ appointments, trauma centre scam, medical courses being run without MCI recognition, entrance exam scam, among others.

The administration clearly has a two point agenda to fulfill – communalisation and filling their pockets. They’re keen on making as much money as they can irrespective of how badly it affects the students.

Students inside the campus are scared to even speak up. We cannot afford to have an entire generation of imprisoned minds.

A single ideology is being imposed on all the students, teachers and workers inside the university. The ideological space within which fruitful discussions may be held has shrunk so badly that it has become difficult to breathe. 

Magsaysay awardee SandeepPandey, who was a visiting faculty, was sacked from the university for holding an ideology different from that of the VC. Students were warned that if seen celebrating Valentine’s Day, they’d attract ‘category A’ punishment.

The university prospectus promises a 24-hour library with bus facility for girls till 5 am in the morning. When asked to reinstate this facility, the VC said that expecting girls to study at night is not pragmatic. According to the administration, ‘Graduate students don’t need a library. They shouldn’t read anything other than the syllabus. They are demanding a cyber-library to watch porn.’ Petrol bombs too have been found inside hostel rooms of an RSS affiliated student.

Such is the situation inside the campus. In such an environment a student will never be able to gain holistic education. This trend is very dangerous to the student community and needs to be stopped.

Students inside the campus are scared to even speak up. We cannot afford to have an entire generation of imprisoned minds. It is important for the student community across the country to understand the dangers that this trend poses to the Idea of India. We all need to unite and fight these fascist forces strongly.





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