Banaras Hindu University (BHU) got its first female chief proctor on Thursday. Assistant Professor Royana Singh was appointed to the post after the then chief proctor O N Singh resigned taking moral responsibility for the violence on campus last week.
“Royana Singh, an assistant professor at the Institute of Medical Science (Anatomy Department), has been appointed as Chief Proctor,” a senior BHU official said. “She is the first woman in the varsity’s history to hold the post and also heads the women’s grievance cell of the university.”
At a press conference, Royana Singh said she had “zero tolerance” towards sexual harassment. “I was away when the incident took place. I have zero tolerance towards such acts and will ensure nothing like this is repeated on campus,” she said.
Several female students were injured in a baton-charge by police in BHU on Saturday night during a protest against the alleged molestation of a student.
Royana Singh said she was ashamed at the lathi-charge, adding that 200 female guards, new CCTV on campus and constant interaction with wardens and students would be ensured to avert such a “mishap”.
“I will be in touch with wardens and teachers and wardens will be told to constantly interact with students so that we get to know of a problem at the start. But there is no gender discrimination on campus. I can say this with certainty,” she said.
BHU Vice-Chancellor G C Tripathi on Wednesday night visited a women’s hostel to hold talks with students. A video recording of the meeting, which was doing the rounds on social media, purportedly showed the V-C asking the students, “Why did you protest and bring dishonour to the university?”
He is shown saying, “Teachers had called you for a discussion but you did not come. Only those should talk about duty who follow their own duty… Ek ladki ki izzat bazaar mein leke nikle tum log. Yeh sahi hai? (You sold the modesty of the woman with your public protests. Is this right?),” he said.
Tripathi, who is under fire for the violence on campus and was issued a notice by the NHRC for “unwarranted thrashing of students, mostly women”, did not respond to repeated calls. Neither did the BHU PRO.
Students said the V-C had accepted many of their security-related demands such as round-the-clock security, CCTV network, proper checking at the gates and recruitment of female guards.