Varanasi, Sep 24 (IANS) Tension prevailed at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus here on Sunday after an agitation by woman students, protesting molestation of a student, turned violent late on Saturday when police used force to disperse the protesters.
Additional police force has been deployed at the campus as a precautionary measure after police carried out a baton-charge and fired in the air on Saturday night and the students threw stones in retaliation.
The University has been shut till October 2 and there were reports that protesting women students had been told to vacate their hostel rooms.
On Sunday morning, the students took out a silent rally in protest of Saturday night’s violence. As the students reached Lakshman Das Guest House, some policemen signalled them to stay back. This infuriated the women who started the protest again.
However, when some University workers took out a silent march in support of the administration, police provided security to them. Now thousands of students want to take out a silent rally but have been denied permission.
The students are asking if the workers can be provided with security, why can’t they.
With the University being shut, hundreds of students have left for home. The university campus has become a police encampment with a large contingent of Provincial Armed Constabulary deployed there.
The students of BHU’s Triveni hostel have been protesting at a university gate since Friday against the university administration’s inaction after a student alleged she was molested on the campus on Thursday.
The students have been demanding to meet Vice Chancellor G.C. Tripathi. The VC’s office agreed that he could meet four-five of the women but the protesters wanted everyone to meet him, leading to no dialogue.
On Saturday evening, the VC, instead of visiting the protest site, went to meet another group of women, who have left the agitation, in Triveni hostel. As soon as the word got out, the protesters shifted their agitation to the VC’s office and started shouting slogans.
The security personnel tried to stop the them but the women got into a heated argument with them till around 1 a.m. on Sunday. As the news spread, male students from other hostels came out to support the women students and in some time the agitation turned violent.
The over 1,500 police personnel in the area carried out a baton-charge on the students and even fired some rounds in the air. In response, students threw stones and burnt a police motorcycle.
On getting the information about the clashes, Inspector General of Police Prem Prakash and Varanasi Commissioner Nitin Ramesh Gokarn and some other officials reached the campus with a large police contingent to make an assessment of the situation.
At the incident spot, Chief Proctor O.N. Singh said efforts to convince the students are on and action would be taken against the guily men students.
Gokarn said that a report of the incident would be submitted to the state government.
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