The judicial committee, which was set up to investigate the students’ protests at Banaras Hindu University after an alleged case of molestation in September 2017, has blamed the Uttar Pradesh administration for inaction during the violence on campus, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The committee headed by former Allahabad High Court judge VK Dikshit has cleared former BHU Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi of charges of not handling the incident appropriately.

On September 21, 2017, three men had allegedly molested a female student on the campus. Protests broke out the next morning, with the agitators accusing the varsity administration of insensitivity. Tripathi had dismissed the alleged sexual harassment as “a simple case of eve-teasing”. In October 2017 – just a month before his tenure ended – Tripathi went on leave for an indefinite period.

The police had 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 subsequent violence on the campus.

‘District administration did not cooperate’

In its report, the committee has said that there was nothing wrong with the former vice chancellor’s conduct and the manner in which he handled the protests. The varsity administration had reached out to the complainant and even informed the police immediately about the alleged molestation, the report said, according to The Indian Express.

The committee stated that the incident could have been stopped from escalating if the police had conducted an immediate inquiry into the complaint. The report also alleged that the district administration did not respond to the university’s repeated request for assistance and protection.

‘Student protests were politicised’

The report alleged that the students’ protest were politicised, and “outside elements” saw an opportunity to stage the agitation a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Varanasi, the newspaper reported. The protest had turned violent as anti-social elements had been part of it and political parties had provoked the students, the committee alleged. It also named Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh, All India Students’ Association Sunil Yadav, and former Jawaharlal Nehru University student Mrityunjay Singh for provoking the agitating students.