Days after violence erupted at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) following the alleged sexual harassment of a student, a women professor of the varsity has disclosed that it was not only students but wardens like her had also been mercilessly lathicharged by the police on the night when the incident took place. Recalling her ordeal, Pratima Gond, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Mahila Maha Vidyalaya, BHU, said she was assaulted by the police while she was trying to save a student from being attacked.
“A woman student fell on the ground while police were lathicharging students..when I went to help the girl, I also got trapped under the police attack. I pleaded them not to beat me and told them that I am a teacher at the university, but they didn’t listen and kept beating,” Gond said, adding that she is yet to recover from the trauma.
“They struck blows on my head with two-three lathis; I also suffered injuries on my fingers. I am not a criminal, I am teacher. We were not inciting any violence. It is very unfortunate that a teacher and students were beaten and that too when not a single woman officer was present on the spot. This incident happened around 11.30 pm,” she added.
On Saturday night, a number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured when the police allegedly used the force and batoncharged them in BHU where a protest against an alleged sexual harassment turned violent. The violence broke out inside the campus after some students, protesting against the incident, wanted to meet the varsity’ vice-chancellor at his residence. An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
In the wake of incident, BHU chief proctor Prof O N Singh has resigned from his post after taking “moral responsibility” for the violence on the campus. Professor MK Singh of the BHU Medical College has been given the charge of the chief proctor, said a press release from the university.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stated the incident reeks of “conspiracy” as prima facie reports suggest the role of anti-social elements in vitiating the atmosphere. “The report (on BHU incidents) has been received and administration has been clearly told not to harass any student but get to the bottom of this issue and find details of anti-social elements who vitiated the atmosphere (in the university) in the garb of students,” Yogi told reporters.
With inputs from Sarah Hafeez