A DAY after students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) went on a rampage on campus protesting the arrest of a member of the BHU unit of the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, 15 current and former students, were booked on charges of rioting and arson on Thursday. No arrests have been made yet.
Around 30 students had gone on rampage, setting several vehicles and a bus on fire, manhandling university staff and those present at the Kashi Vishvanath Temple as well as damaging doors of ATMs. They were allegedly protesting against the arrest of SP student wing leader Ashutosh Singh. On November 10, Singh was arrested for creating a ruckus at the IIT-BHU campus for protesting against a fest that he claimed promoted obscenity.
“An FIR on charges of rioting and arson and damage to public property has been registered… We have not detained or arrested anyone so far,” said Varanasi IG Deepak Ratan.
The FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by the BHU Chief Proctor Royana Singh on Thursday. It named 15 current and former students, describing them as “actors” in Wednesday’s violence.
Police said they are trying to verify all the names submitted by the university administration before making arrests. “We are facing delays due to technical difficulties in receiving the CCTV footage… the students have broken the cameras. We do not want to pick up anyone without being entirely sure,” said a police officer.
Condemning the vandalism, Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha state president Digvijay Singh claimed it was an attempt to malign the student wing. “This is a conspiracy to give us a bad name. Ashutosh is an old member of the Sabha but he was supposed to be replaced by a new leader last year,” he said while maintaining that he was not touch with the BHU unit of the Chhatra Sabha.
“The Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha never supports any act of protest, which will hurt the people,” he added.