Updated: October 3, 2017 8:33:37 am
Less than two months before he retires as vice-chancellor (V-C) of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Girish Chandra Tripathi went on leave Monday citing personal reasons, according to university sources.
The move comes eight days after BHU students, mostly women, staged heated protests over an alleged incident of sexual harassment on campus, leading to a police lathicharge.
Following the incident, which triggered widespread outrage, the V-C had been at the centre of a firestorm over his alleged mishandling of the protests and several cases of alleged institutional bias against women.
As first reported by The Indian Express on September 28, the government had sounded out the V-C on the option of going on leave, even as it set the ball rolling for appointing his successor.
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Tripathi submitted his leave request on Monday and, according to BHU sources, his application does not mention the date of rejoining office.
He also skipped the Gandhi Jayanti programme organised in the university on Monday. The V-C was in Delhi, but did not meet HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
According to the BHU Act, if the university head goes on leave, the Rector will act as the head — in the Rector’s absence, the university Registrar will assume charge as V-C. When Tripathi’s predecessor, Lalji Singh, retired in 2014, IIT-BHU director Rajeev Sangal was appointed as the V-C in charge, with the President’s approval, for three months.
The university authorities are expected to announce the name of the acting head this week. BHU had closed early for Dussehra after the police lathicharge. It will reopen on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the government has already expedited its search for his successor. Last Friday, the university uploaded an advertisement on its website seeking applications for the V-C’s post over the next one month.
The HRD Ministry is also learnt to have moved a file to constitute the search-cum-selection committee that will screen applications and send a shortlist of three finalists to the government.
Tripathi and BHU Registrar did not respond to calls and an SMSes left by this reporter.
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