The BHU students are planning to hold a huge demonstration at Lanka. The administration and police are keeping a strict vigil. The entire city is put under strict watch and social activists and political leaders coming from outside are also being closely watched.
UP Police first detained and then arrested social activist and writer Teesta Setalvad. Teesta had gone to Varanasi to take part in a youth training programme. But the police detained her as soon as she reached the airport. Despite her telling the police that she has come to Varanasi to participate in a different programme, the police refused to let her go.
The entire campus of BHU is engulfed in fear after the police atrocity on the night of September 23 when policemen barged into girls’ hostels and beat them up. The BHU administration is handling the situation in a dictatorial manner. The administration had sent orders to all the hostels that they be vacated till five in the evening of September 24. The administration threatened the students, girls and boys alike that hostels’ electricity and water supply will be cut after 4 pm on Sunday evening. They started getting the girls’ hostels vacated right in the morning.
Girls are being threatened that action will be taken against them if they protest this order even a little. Neha Kumari, a post-graduate student of History and Culture, said, “I have been studying in BHU for four years now. But what happened on September 23 was never heard or seen before. That the police will hit girls so ruthlessly with lathis —we had not even read about such a thing. The policemen entered our hostels and started hitting us with lathis. Where is democracy, where is law? We had not demanded something big. We were just demanding security and safety, and that there should be no harassment. What is the VC and the Proctor’s problem with that? If the girls are demanding streets lights to be put up, then what’s wrong in that?
“When on September 22, a girl was teased and misbehaved with, our anger blew up. We wanted immediate action. But our simple demand was not paid attention to. When we started gathering for a public protest at the university gate, the gates were closed. The girls were trapped. The anger and frustration had been simmering for a long time.
“At the time of hostel allotment, our parents are made to write that if we take part in any kind of protest or demonstration, then our allotment will be cancelled. Why this discrimination? There is no such rule for boys.
“why can’t we raise our voice against injustice only because we are girls? Now after this movement, the administration is targeting us one by one.”
The administration in Varanasi is making every effort to stop people from supporting the BHU girl students. A huge demonstration is being organised at Lanka Gate on Monday evening. BHU has already declared holidays till October 2. The rest of the degree colleges have also been closed till October 2. On Sunday evening, UP Congress president Raj Babbar was detained and not allowed to enter BHU.
The members of All India Democratic Women Association were also stopped by the police from staging a demonstration at Singh Dwar of the BHU. They had some arguments with the police. Members of the Samajwadi Party too tried to stage a protest at the gates of BHU but all were detained and removed from there.
Many students’ organisations and social organisations are organising protests and demonstrations in many parts of the country against the police lathi-charge on girl students in BHU. These demonstrations are being held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal and in the states of Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, UP Governor Ram Naik has announced a four-member committee to probe into the incident of violence in BHU. The chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh has been appointed the committee’s chairman. There have also been reports of four police official being summoned, the SHO of Lanka area is one of them.