Hours after over six people were injured in a clash between its students and junior doctors, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) administration on Tuesday suspended classes and closed five of its hostels while heavy police force was deployed in and around campus.
According to the police, it began when an Allahabad-based youth, who was at Sir Sunderlal Hospital (on BHU campus) for his mother’s treatment, allegedly misbehaved with some junior doctors for a delay in her being provided a bed.
“At around 7 pm, the youth, identified as Shivji, allegedly misbehaved with the junior doctors, after which he was allegedly manhandled by some of the doctors and then handed over to the police. Around two hours later, a woman who was with the youth called some of the law faculty students who knew Shivji. The students, who were allegedly from the Birla and Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) hostel, beat up some of the doctors. At around 11 pm, MBBS doctors jammed the main gate and sat on a protest. Police force was deployed,” said Varanasi SSP Sureshrao A Kulkarni.
“When some of the Birla hostel students wanted to go outside campus late at night, they reached the gate but were not let out by protesting doctors. The two groups, with the art faculty students from Birla and LBS on one side and junior doctors from Lohia and Dhanvantari hostels on the other, had an argument which soon led to a clash. Stones were pelted from both sides. Both groups damaged 3-4 motorcycles parked nearby and set them on fire. Around half a dozen people from both sides were injured. The number might be more,” he added.
“A number of allegations have been made by both sides and we are looking into them. It was also alleged that two students from Birla were held hostage by the MBBS doctors. The doctors have alleged that one of their colleagues was injured in the hostel,” he further said.
The local police outpost and police teams were also attacked by the groups that went on a rampage till the early hours of Tuesday. Soon after, the university administration passed an order to suspend all classes till Friday. In another order, it asked the wardens of Ruiya hostel, Ruiya annexe, Dhanvantari hostel, Birla hostel and the LBS hostel to vacate them in the next 24 hours. As per the letter issued by the university’s Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Rakesh Bhatnagar, the step was taken to “establish a suitable educational environment in the welfare of common students”.
Two FIRs were registered on the basis of complaints filed by both groups against a dozen students and junior doctors for offences including rioting and voluntarily causing hurt. Police said the situation was now under control and that they were examining CCTV footage to identify those involved.
Meanwhile, junior doctors of Sir Sunderlal Hospital went on an “unannounced strike”, affecting services, while senior doctors attended to patients.
The District Magistrate (DM) and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) have taken out a flag march in the affected area.
University spokesperson Rajesh Singh informed that the junior doctors had stopped working and in an “unethical step”, were on an unannounced strike. Singh said that the university’s standing committee was looking into the matter and action would be taken against students involved in the clash, and against the junior doctors who are on an unannounced strike.