The chaos in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is far from over, amid instances of violence, tyre-burning and stone pelting, the administration has allegedly decided to call off administrative activities. Students from the university told Newsclick that this may be extended, as the administration fears that the situation may go out of hands further.
The atmosphere in the university campus has been volatile from September 24, when the celebratory event of the female students was allegedly disrupted by students from the ABVP. Post September 23, an FIR was filed against the students. The administration drew flak from across the quarters, as it remained a mute spectator when the female students were allegedly being dragged and manhandled. But, before the dust could even settle on this issue, the campus was caught up in a fresh wave of violence, as a fight broke out between the students of the university and the practising student resident doctors at the Sunderlal Hospital situated within the campus premises.
Discussing how the events unfolded, Awantika Tewari, a third year student, told Newsclick, “The fight between the students belonging to the arts stream and the resident doctors broke out, as a relative of the student from the arts stream was apparently denied a bed in the hospital. A minor argument took a violent turn, as the clashes broke out between the two groups.”
Akash Pandey said, “There was stone-pelting; some students also burnt down the conflict management building in anger. The administration tried to repress the fights initially through a lathi charge, but later paramilitary forces were also called in the campus to bring the situation under control.”
The atmosphere on the campus remains tense currently. Awantika said, “We are scared that something can pull a trigger”. While the hostels for the boys have been vacated as of now, the female students have been strictly advised to stay indoors, and are under constant surveillance. A male student who had to vacate his hostel told Newsclick, “We were compelled to leave at all costs, those who tried to resist were hit.”
The violence engulfing the campus has led many to believe that this is a deliberate attempt by the ABVP and the administration to shift attention from the flak the university was drawing over its failure to provide a safe space to female students. A student, on the condition of anonymity, told Newsclick, “This can very well be planted, we are all questioning as to how something as small as a minor disagreement over a hospital bed can blow into something as big as the violence that we saw in the campus.”
Another student added, “Every time there are peaceful protests, the administration feels threatened, and is now shutting down everything and forcing people to vacate the campus premises.”
The administration was approached by Newsclick, however the vice chancellor’s office refused to offer a comment, while the PRO also vehemently denied to speak over the same.
As chaos mounts, academics in the university have taken a massive hit, with students unsure about when the suspension of classes may end. With the upcoming festive season, many in the campus are worried that there will be an extension, and the issues raised by the students will be brushed under the carpet by the administration.
The female students also highlighted that the ABVP men under the scanner for violence remain scot-free. Despite an FIR, the accused attended a seminar. Currently, a letter to the VC has been submitted with over 100 signatures from the female students. However, due to the shutdown, the investigations and actions in the violence case will not proceed further.
*This is a developing story.