Inaction led to BHU protests

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday sought a report from UP government and the Banaras Hindu University Vice Chancellor over “inaction” on a complaint of eve-teasing and harsh police action against agitating students.

The NHRC felt that students, who were protesting the eve-teasing and inaction by security guards, were subjected to “inhuman treatment” by police personnel and it amounted to violation of their human rights.

“The university authorities should have acted sensibly as the matter related to the dignity of a woman. The police authorities resorted to rather harsh steps than the situation, perhaps, warranted,” an NHRC statement said.

Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports, the NHRC asked the Chief Secretary and the Vice Chancellor to submit reports within four weeks and provide details about action taken against miscreants and precautionary measures taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future.

The NHRC said the media reports are “indicative of lapses” on the part of the university authorities, including the security guards. Instead of taking a quick action into the complaint of eve-teasing, it said, they allegedly indulged in sarcastic comments towards the victim girl.

Students were lathicharged by police on Saturday night after they protested against an eve-teasing incident and response of BHU authorities to it.

Quoting media reports, the NHRC siad when the matter was brought to the notice of Hostel Warden, she instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked the girl why was she returning late to the hostel.

This response angered the students who sat on a protest at the main gate of the university demanding round-the-clock security, making security personnel accountable, adequate lighting on roads to girl’s hostel, CCTV network and proper checking at the gates.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 27, 2017)

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