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Student organisations, women activists stage protests against crackdown on BHU students

Various students bodies, including the the NSUI and the ABVP, today staged protests across the country against the lathi-charge on students in BHU.
Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi September 25, 2017 21:12 IST
India TV News Desk

Various students bodies, including the the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), staged demonstrations across the country today against the baton-charge on students in Banaras Hindu University (BHU). 

The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) student wing -- the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti -- also organised a protest march at Delhi University's North Campus in solidarity with the BHU students. 

The RSS-affiliated ABVP condemned the police action against the students and demanded constitution of a fact-finding committee, while the Congress-backed NSUI demanded an inquiry under a sitting high court judge and resignation of the BHU vice-chancellor. 

The two student organisations had separately announced their plans to stage demonstrations outside the office of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) here. 

However, the NSUI claimed that it supporters were detained much ahead of the venue, while ABVP activists were allowed to reach the site. 

The Congress-affiliated student body accused Delhi Police of favouring the ABVP. 

"Despite having all permissions, we were detained without citing any reason. This shows how Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to use the police for curbing and stopping protests against him and his government," NSUI media in-charge Neeraj Mishra. 

Mishra also criticised the ABVP and said its protest was "always about symbolism". 

ABVP national media convener Saket Bahuguna said on Twitter, "Those wondering why a protest at MHRD, should remember @ABVPVoice works for student community, not for any political party and we are proud of it." 

When contacted, a senior Delhi Police officer said permission was not granted for any protest near the ministry and that both groups were detained. 

The AAP student wing, in a statement, said the BHU administration and the police had miserably failed to provide security to girl students. 

 Activists of Samajwadi Party's Chhatra Sabha staged protest at BHU Gate in Varanasi. They were forcefully removed by police personnel deployed in the wake of Saturday's violence.   

A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in a lathicharge by the police in BHU where a protest on Saturday night against an alleged eve-teasing incident turned violent. 

The violence erupted after some students, protesting against the incident on Thursday, wanted to meet the varsity's vice-chancellor at his residence. 

Security guards of the university stopped the students and informed the police, according to university sources.

A BHU spokesperson had said that some students wanted to "forcibly" enter the VC's residence but they were stopped by the BHU security guards. 

Subsequently, there was stone pelting by "outsiders" who had joined the students, he said. 

The police baton charged the students in a bid to disperse them. 

Women activists, students protest police action on BHU campus 

Scores of activists belonging to women's groups and student organisations today protested the lathi-charge on women students of Banaras Hindu University, at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. 

Richa Singh, the first woman president of the Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU), alleged that after targeting Muslims and Dalits, the BJP was now aiming at women.

She alleged women students of BHU were "molested" thrice -- "first when three motorcycle-borne men molested an Arts Faculty student, second when police barged into their hostels and third when the vice-chancellor shamed the victim". 

Singh said that instead of bringing the culprits to book, the varsity's vice-chancellor was busy identifying the protesters. 

All India Progressive Women's Association Secretary Kavita Krishnan said, "Security of our freedom is our constitutional right, and no government, no VC can take that away." 

JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said women students of BHU were "fighting to defend their autonomy". 

All India Students' Association's national president Sucheta De said, "The BHU movement is a declaration of freedom for all women across the country. Women are demanding justice and fighting against sexist rules, moral policing and victim shaming." 

Former BHU union presidents back students' movement

Three former presidents of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students' union have demanded a visitorial inquiry into the incident of police lathicharge on students and the restoration of the union. 

The President of India is the Visitor of all the central universities. 

Supporting the "democratic and peaceful movement" of the students, Anand Kumar, Mohan Prakash and Anand Pradhan, the three former students' union leaders, expressed a "serious concern" over the assault on the protesters. 

Senior Congress leader Karan Singh, who was a BHU chancellor in the past, also issued a statement terming the police lathicharge on students as "most deplorable" and demanded that the vice-chancellor ordered an enquiry to ascertain the causes which led to the situation, so that remedial steps were taken "without delay". 

Meanwhile, the BHU alumni have decided to hold a candlelight vigil at Jantar Mantar here from 4.30 pm tomorrow. 

"It is our duty as concerned citizens and proud alumni to respond to the recent events on the campus. It is our way of saying, 'We are with you'," it said in a statement. 

(With PTI inputs)