The National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday gave four weeks to the Uttar Pradesh Police and the Banaras Hindu University’s vice chancellor to submit reports on the alleged incident of molestation inside the campus and the police action during the students’ protests that followed.
The commission said it has taken suo motu cognisance of the university’s “alleged inaction” against the molestation complaint filed on Thursday as well as reports of the police manhandling protesting students on Saturday night.
It said the university “should have acted sensibly”, and that the police “resorted to rather harsh steps than the situation, perhaps, warranted”. It also termed the police action “inhuman” and a “violation of human rights”.
Students at Banaras Hindu University began their protest on Friday morning, alleging that three men had molested a female student inside the campus on Thursday night. They had accused the administration of insensitivity.
On Saturday night, the police allegedly baton-charged the students while they were protesting at the university gate and in front of the vice chancellor’s residence. Several of them were injured in the incident, which led to more violence on the campus.
On Monday, the university had ordered a judicial inquiry into the protests on campus from September 21 to 23. Earlier on Tuesday, Divisional Commissioner of Varanasi Nitin Gokarn, in a preliminary report, blamed the university administration for the campus violence, saying it had ignored the student’s complaint.
Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi had dismissed the alleged sexual harassment as “a simple case of eve-teasing”. He also claimed that the “incident was deliberately staged” a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Varanasi, according to NDTV. Tripathi had also denied that the police had baton-charged protesting students.