Stalking, molestation and sexual abuse have become rampant at Benaras Hindu University. And finally women are raising their voice against it. Hundreds of students from the university gathered since Friday morning (Sept 22) to protest the campus authority’s apathy. On Thursday, a first-year student was harassed by three bike-borne men near Kala Bhawan within the BHU campus.

She screamed for help to the college security guard, but he refused to step in. Then she reported the crime to the hostel warden of Triveni Hostel Management and the chief proctor. They allegedly started asking why she was out late. This angered the students and they came together to protest the lack of safety for girls in and around the college.

HOSTEL CURFEW

“They asked her why she was out so late. They told students that the hostel curfew timings will be shifted from 7 pm to 6 pm,” a boarder and fine arts student told Indian Express.

A PhD student from BHU, Surabhi, told SheThePeople.TV, “In the campus we expect security but at the same time we cannot move around safely. The library is open till 11 pm but it is an unwritten rule that the girls should leave by 8.30 pm. You cannot find a single girl in the library after 8.30 pm while boys sit till 11 pm.”

“My friend was in the protest and there were some old people who were facing problems to enter the campus. And my friend heard them saying that girls wear small clothes and then start protesting. I have heard that the girl who was molested was actually wearing a salwaar-kameez,” she added.

By Friday evening, some students climbed the topmost spire of the BHU front gate. And they put up a white banner stating “Unsafe BHU” with a picture of crying eyes.

POLICE INVOLVEMENT AND PM VISIT

“Heavy police presence is there at BHU to ensure law and order. We have also lodged FIR against unknown persons,” a senior officer of Lanka police station said. A circle officer said that the police tried to resolve the issue in four rounds but the students are hard to budge.

“Girl Students in BHU face molestation and physical assault every now and then. However, instead of taking action against erring male students, authorities ask us to shut up.”

The students want to highlight the issue in front of Prime Minister Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the city. Students have reportedly blocked the route that Modi is going to take. The chief proctor had reportedly advised them to stay silent till the PM’s visit in the city. “You all keep quiet till the Prime Minister’s visit was over,” was the terse reply of the Chief Proctor, DNA reported.

ALSO READ: Pinjra Tod to march on South Delhi streets to protest against sexual harassment

AUTHORITY’S DOUBLE STANDARDS

“Girl students in BHU face molestation and physical assault every now and then. However, instead of taking action against erring male students, authorities ask us to shut up,” rued student Akansha Singh.

Another student Pallavi, a BFA student, questioned, “We have lodged several complaints in this regard in the past. But instead of taking action, the administration advises us not to leave hostels after 6 pm. What kind of freedom do we have in BHU?”

Victim-shaming is not just BHU, which is in a conservative state like Uttar Pradesh, even Delhi university has restrictions like curfew system, dressing sense etc in its rule book.

We need zero tolerance for crimes against women. It’s high time universities start taking action.

Picture credit- Scroll

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

 

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