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Student groups protest in Delhi against BHU police action

Several student groups carried out protests here on Monday against the use of force by police on woman students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) when they were agitating for action in a sexual harassment incident.

Congress’s student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) took out a march against the Human Resource Development Ministry at Raisina Road, as did the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The NSUI claimed that while it was denied permission to stage a demonstration outside the Shastri Bhawan, where the ministry is housed, the ABVP was allowed to do so.

Another march was taken out by Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, the Aam Aadmi Party’s student wing, at the Delhi University which saw more than 100 students take part, a statement from the group said.

A joint protest was staged by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), along with Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Progressive Women’s Association, Pinjra Tod, National Federation of Indian Women, including others, at the Jantar Mantar.

Newly-elected JNU Students’ Union President Geeta Kumari lashed out at the BHU Vice Chancellor G.C. Tripathi for dictating to the women and not being able to ensure their safety.

“This is the same VC who says that girls who study till 10 p.m. have a bad character and are immoral. Now the same VC, after these protests is saying that few autocratic and anarchist elements which have come from outside are driving the moment,” she said at the protest.

Geeta Kumari said that these incidents are becoming regular under the Narendra Modi government.

“What were they (girls) asking for, they were asking from the university to take notice of the sexual harassment incident and do justice. And now they are being branded anti-nationals,” she said.

“This episode shows why GSCASH is necessary in all institutes. It is necessary because your administration is not capable of dealing with sexual harassment cases, they are not sensitised,” she added.

Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment or ‘GSCASH’, the redressal committee at JNU against harassment related incidents, was ordered to be disbanded by the varsity administration last week in favour of a University Grants Commission mandated Internal Complaints Committee.

The move has since been opposed by the students and many teachers of the JNU.

The agitation by the woman students turned violent at BHU in Varanasi on Saturday night when they took their protest to the VC’s office and started shouting slogans. They were also joined by men from other hostels.

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.