New Delhi: After large-scale student protests against the administration’s alleged victim shaming and inaction in a molestation case and a police lathi charge on students, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has registered an FIR against 1,000 students for arson on Monday. Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government removed three additional city magistrates and two policemen in connection with the lathi charge.
Station officer of Lanka police station Rajiv Singh, circle officer Belapur Nivesh Katiyar and additional city magistrates Manoj Kumar Singh, Sushil Kumar Gaund and Jagdamma Prasad Singh were removed prima facie for executing the lathi charge, Indian Express reported.
On Sunday, chief minister Adityanath had asked Varanasi divisional commissioner Nitin Gokarn for a report on the issue, while chief secretary Rajiv Kumar directed Gokarn and ADG (Varanasi Zone) Vishwajit Mahapatra to submit a joint report.
A number of students and two journalists were injured in a lathi charge by the police on Saturday night. The violence erupted after some students, protesting against the molestation incident on Thursday, wanted to meet the varsity’s vice chancellor at his residence. Security guards 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.
Following the violence, the district administration has declared holidays from today till October 2 in all colleges and universities in Varanasi. BHU had earlier announced that the holidays would start from September 28.
The baton charge on journalists led to protests in Lucknow with some scribes staging a sit-in near the chief minister’s residence. They later submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate demanding action against the guilty.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “The government should resolve the issue by talks, not by lathicharge. It is condemnable. Action should be taken against the guilty.”
Congress leaders Raj Babbar and P.L. Punia, along with scores of party activists, were detained yesterday when they tried to visit the BHU. They were later released. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP over the police lathi charge.
Attaching a link to a video of the students who alleged that they were beaten up by male policemen at the campus, Gandhi had tweeted, “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU.”
The BHU had issued a statement saying that the ‘dharna’ by the students just a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit was “politically motivated” to malign the image of the university.
Students began that protest after a female first-year student was allegedly groped and molested just outside the university campus. She has said that though she yelled for help, the university security guards did nothing. She then approached the chief proctor and her warden, who apparently asked why she was out so late (at around 6 pm) instead of taking action against the perpetrators.
(With PTI inputs)