UP CM Yogi Adityanath has sought a report in the incident, as various political parties criticised the government and condemned the police action.
A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in lathi charge by the police in the Banaras Hindu University which witnessed violence on Saturday night, in an ugly turn to a protest against an alleged eve-teasing incident.
In the wake of the violence, the university has announced “holidays” from Monday till October 2, advancing it from September 28.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sought a report from the divisional commissioner about the incident as various political parties, including Samajwadi Party, criticised the government and condemned the police action.
A number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in the lathi charge by the police.
Some policemen were also injured in the clashes during which students indulged in arson, police sources said.
Violence erupted after some students, protesting against the alleged eve-teasing incident of Thursday, wanted to meet the Vice Chancellor at his residence on Saturday night, according to police and university sources.
The security guards of the university stopped them and the police was informed, according to the university sources.
BHU spokesperson said some students wanted to “forcibly” enter the VC’s residence but they were stopped by the security guards of the university.
Subsequently, there was stone pelting by “outsiders” who had joined the students.
Police used lathicharge to control the situation.
“I have sought a report from the divisional commissioner, Varanasi, about the entire incident,” Adityanath said in Lucknow.
The lathi charge on journalists led to protests in Lucknow with some journalists staging a sit-in near the CM’s residence. They later gave a memorandum to the District Magistrate demanding action against the guilty.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav condemned the lathi charge of the students in BHU.
“The government should resolve the issue by talks, not by lathi charge. It is condemnable. Action should be taken against the guilty,” Akhilesh tweeted.
On Saturday night, the BHU issued a statement, saying 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.
The university also said that security guards were regularly patrolling the campus and assistance from the police is sought from time-to-time to maintain peace in the campus.
Senior officials including District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Superintendent of Police (city) Dinesh Singh reached the campus along with a large posse of police.
Nearly 1500 policemen including PAC personnel have been deployed in and around the campus to maintain law and order in the campus.
The BHU students have been protesting near the university’s main gate since Thursday against the rising eve-teasing incidents on the campus.
The trigger was an incident in which a woman student of the Arts faculty alleged harassment by three men on a motorcycle inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel.
The three men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts, according to the complainant.
Senior Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav denounced the alleged police action against Banaras Hindu University students protesting the increasing incidents of eve-teasing on the campus, and said the issue will be raised in Parliament.
“It has never happened before at BHU. It is sheer violation of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution,” Yadav said in a statement.
“We will raise the issue in Parliament... It is intolerable in a democracy and the government should apologise,” he said, adding people will take to the streets to protest it.
The woman alleged that security guards, about 100 metres from where the incident happened, did nothing to stop the men.
She said her warden, instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked her why was she was returning late to the hostel.
The warden’s response angered the student’s colleagues, who sat on a ‘dharna’ at the main gate midnight Thursday. One of the students even got her head tonsured.
BHU students have alleged they have to face eve-teasers on the campus regularly and the varsity administration was not taking any action to stop the miscreants.
Police and BHU professors tried to pacify the students on Saturday, but they refused to end their protest and sought an assurance from the university vice chancellor.
A large number of police personnel have been deployed near the campus as a security precaution, said the police.
Raj Babbar, Punia detained on way to violence-hit BHU
Congress leaders Raj Babbar and P L Punia, along with scores of party activists, were detained on Sunday when they tried to visit Banaras Hindu University where students were lathi-charged by police following overnight violence.
In the wake of the violence, the district administration issued instructions for declaring holidays from Monday till October 2 in all colleges and universities in Varanasi.
Police also detained 16 students who refused to end their dharna against the police action.
Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar and former parliamentarian Punia were stopped near Gilat Bazar by police when they were on their way to meet the protesting BHU students, a police officer said.
Police tried to stop the Congress leaders at Varanasi’s LalBahadurShastriAirport as soon as they landed, but they headed for the varsity along with scores of party workers.
Many Congress workers sat on a dharna on the road after the leaders were detained, blocking traffic movement.
Rahul takes dig at BJP’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao drive
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for the lathi charge by police on girl students of the BenarasHinduUniversity, saying it was the saffron party’s version of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’.
Attaching a link to a video of the students who alleged that they were beaten up by male policemen at the campus, Gandhi tweeted, “BJP version of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao in BHU.”