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'Simple Eve-Teasing': Varanasi University (BHU) Head Plays Down Protests

Varanasi:  The incident of sexual harassment of a woman student that led to protests by students at Banaras Hindu University was “a simple case of eve teasing”, the university Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi has claimed, adding that the “incident was deliberately staged” a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the temple town.

The widely shared video, which provoked waves of outrage, showed policemen charging towards women protesting on Saturday at the gates of a hostel at the BHU over the molestation inside the campus. As the women rushed inside, one student was left outside. A policeman is seen pushing the woman, who falls to the ground. Two other cops then begin thrashing her with batons.

“This was not a case of molestation, this was a simple case of eve teasing that was deliberately staged a day before the Prime Minister’s visit. I am of the opinion that institutions should not be made platforms for practising politics for different parties,” Mr Tripathi said.

The Vice chancellor of BHU, who has been criticised for not acting earlier on the complaint by the women students, said, “There is a mindset to disturb institutes of higher learning. Efforts have been made to disturb higher institutes of learning, like JNU and Delhi University.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the violence that has been condemned by students, activists and opposition parties.

Two policemen and an officer have been removed in Varanasi, which is PM Modi’s parliamentary constituency.

The protesting students contend that the university administration, instead of ensuring women’s safety in the campus, restricted their movement and went for victim-shaming.

The opposition has sharply criticised the centre and the state government. Hitting out at PM Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said, “Modiji should apologise to the students of BHU and take immediate action”.