BHU violence: FIR against 1,200 unidentified students

The police on Monday also lodged an FIR against 1,200 unidentified students for violence and arson which the university administration had earlier blamed on "outsiders".

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BHU violence: FIR against 1,200 unidentified students
Policemen deployed at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi on Monday

The Uttar Pradesh government removed three additional city magistrates and two policemen after protests at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) against a case of molestation turned violent and several students, including females, were injured in police lathicharge on Saturday night.

The police on Monday also lodged an FIR against 1,200 unidentified students for violence and arson which the university administration had earlier blamed on "outsiders". An FIR has also been filed against unidentified policemen involved in the lathicharge. All schools and colleges in Varanasi have been ordered shut till further notice. BHU is closed till October 2.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday spoke to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and expressed concern over the violence that has been condemned by students, activists and the Opposition. Both asked the CM to redress the issue at the earliest. "The BHU incident is unfortunate. Any amount of sadness expressed over it is not adequate," Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik said a probe committee headed by Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar has been constituted. Necessary action will be taken on the basis of its report. The committee will see how the police had behaved, and examine other aspects. Kumar recorded the statements of those who witnessed the violence. "It was a serious matter. The probe has begun to find out reasons for the lathicharge, and who provoked protesters. I hope that the government will initiate action against those responsible once the report is submitted," said Naik. Adityanath has already asked the Varanasi Commissioner to probe the incident.

The government has asked the BHU administration to make elaborate arrangements for the security of students on the campus. District Magistrate (DM) Yogeshwar Ram Mishra has asked BHU Vice-Chancellor (V-C) GC Tripathi to immediately constitute the internal complaints committee, mandated by the Supreme Court, to deal with cases of sexual offence.

The DM asked the V-C to install CCTV cameras and ensure deployment of women security guards on the campus, particularly in and around girls' hostels. He also suggested surprise checks and continuous dialogue with students to avoid such incidents.

Violence erupted after protesting students wanted to meet the V-C at his residence on Saturday night. University officials claimed that students started throwing stones that pushed the situation out of control. Students, however, denied the charge.

The CM was in Varanasi on Friday and Saturday when students were protesting against the molestation of a hosteller reported on Thursday. The district administration had to change the route of Modi's cavalcade due to the protests. The crackdown came within hours of the PM ending his two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.

BHU is a central university under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), and is listed as an institute of national importance. There was no immediate reaction from the ministry.

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