The students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT BHU), Varanasi have stepped out in large numbers near the director’s office and staged a peaceful sit-in protest urging for justice for the student who was sexually molested by three unidentified men on November 1. Speaking about this, a student from the institute, said, “All the students of the institute have participated in the protest demanding that the culprits be caught.”
“The protest which started at 10 am on November 8, ended by 11 pm after a discussion with the DIG Shivasimpi Channappa,” the student said. Claiming that the police have guaranteed culprits will be caught within four days of the alleged molestation, the students said, since this was not met, “we protested.”
“The police have assured that if the victim seeks a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the matter, that can be granted,” claimed the student. Giving more details, it is reported that around 4 pm on the same day, a ‘Justice Rally’ was taken out by the protestors from the Director’s office passing through Hyderabad Gate, Limbi Corner and finally back to the protest place.
As per the students, three incidents have fueled the fire among students. Mentioning them, the student said, “Firstly, although we wanted to protect the identity of the victim, one of the police teams among three visited the victim’s hostel directly. Secondly, they compelled the victim to change her statement by forcing her to sign a statement they had made. Lastly, there is no transparency maintained with regards to receiving information from both the police and the institute’s administration.”
In protest videos shared with EdexLive, a representative from the student’s parliament is seen addressing the protestors’ saying, “The one who has committed this act has not been caught or punished yet. The police should hand over the case to the SIT or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), inform the exact date of how soon they can catch the culprits and make it clear if they are actually capable of working on this or not.”
SFI, AIDWA extend support
Uttar Pradesh Students’ Federation of India (SFI) unit and the All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) submitted a memorandum to the Police Commissioner of Varanasi Mutha, Ashok Jain. As per the statement released by the SFI unit, the demands mentioned in the letter to the commissioner are:
1. The accused should be arrested immediately
2. Communication with the female students should be done in a friendly atmosphere with complete confidentiality so that information about more incidents can be obtained
3. The security arrangements of the university should be so tight that no anti-social element can dare commit such indecency
4. CCTV cameras should be installed in sensitive areas of the university and security personnel should also be deployed
5. University administration and police administration should ensure prompt legal action on complaints received from girls
AIDWA representative speaks
Speaking to EdexLive, Madhu Garg, National Joint Secretary of AIDWA said, “Now, the incident has taken a new turn as it turned out to be gang-rape as against molestation charges. In this regard, we have submitted a memorandum.”
“We got to know that there is no Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) in the institute. As per the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC), funding will be restricted for institutes without ICC,” she said. Further, she stressed that despite incidents like these having happened in 2017, 2019 and now in 2023, a committee hasn’t been formed.
“This is one incident which is out but we don’t know how many more are there. Police have to speak to female students and find out about it. However, there are many lapses in the security system,” she added stressing that it’s been nine days since the incident occurred and yet no action has been taken so far.
As a part of the delegation, representatives from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University SFI unit were also present while submitting the memorandum demanding strict action against them for the heinous crime.
As per reports by The India Express, the victim said in a fresh statement that she was allegedly gang-raped. Moreover, ever since the issue has happened, the concern of student safety on campus has risen.