After Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi was sent on a forced leave for an indefinite period following his “mishandling” of the recent protest staged by girl students, BHU Registrar Neeraj Tripathi has been appointed as the university’s interim vice-chancellor.
The BHU Act says if the VC goes on leave, the rector will take his or her charge and if rector is not there, the registrar will head the university.
Though GC Tripathi went on leave citing personal reasons, if sources are to be believed, he was advised by the government to go on a leave. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) reportedly wants a replacement for Tripathi before his tenure ends because the BHU Act says that the incumbent VC will continue to hold the post if no appointment has been made. And therefore, the university has also invited applications for the post of vice-chancellor.
Tripathi is going to retire on November 26.
GC Tripathi has been in the eye of a storm after he allegedly ordered lathi charge on students, especially girls, who were protesting against an incident of alleged sexual harassment on campus and several cases of alleged institutional bias against women.
Classes at the varsity resumed on Tuesday after a vacation break, which was advanced by three days due to the turmoil on the campus.
Curfew timings to be relaxed
The sustained movement of BHU students, especially girls, has finally borne results as the university has agreed to relax the hostel curfew timings for the girls’ hostels.
Sources in the BHU told NewsClick that a proposal has been moved to extend the girls’ hostel outdoor timings from 8 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Inmates of girls’ hostels have been demanding equal curfew timings, arguing that their early curfew time compared to the 10 pm deadline for boys is “discriminatory and arbitrary”.
In addition, the girls would be provided a half-an-hour grace period under special circumstances, which means the timing for boys and girls would be relatively at par.
“A consensus has been reached over the proposal and the Dean of Students and wardens would soon meet to discuss the change in rules,” said a senior official of the university under conditions of anonymity.
“We have got an assurance from the district administration on safety and security. The administration has assured that there won’t be any problem with the new timings and the campus would be safe for girls,” the official further said.
BHU Chief Proctor Royana Singh, at the forefront of the change, said that “the varsity is taking steps to make the campus safer and has so far installed 68 cameras on campus, including 24 at the six entrances. The varsity has also deployed quick reaction teams on the campus to react to molestation and eve-teasing cases”.
Meanwhile, the judicial panel headed by retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice V.K. Dikshit has begun an investigation and has appealed to the students, professor and journalists who were witness to the lathi-charge to submit their written statements.
Simultaneously, the Varanasi Crime Branch has served notices to students who were part of the protest under different sections of the IPC, including the attempt to murder, for questioning.
A separate FIR has been filed at Lanka police station under IT Act against a Facebook page – BHU Buzz – operated by few students for allegedly instigating violence on the campus. Three of its admins have been served notices to appear before Crime Branch officials for questioning.
Politically active students and their outfits are being allegedly targeted by the police and university administration to “curb the voices of dissent”.
Those who were on the radar for talking about democracy on the campus and raising voices against different arbitrary norms of the varsity have been slapped with notices.
Also Read: Democratic Voices of Students Under Attack at BHU
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