Universities are supposed to be thriving centres of ideas sprouting from young minds. Students should be seen indulging in intellectual activities and the temple of knowledge providing them all sorts of facilities. But the scene in Varanasi’s Banaras Hindu University (BHU) from last few months has been quite disturbing where students are fighting against the oppressive stand taken by the vice chancellor of the university.
Indeed, the BHU could be a ‘unique’ university where students have been slapped with criminal charges where they should actually have been praised. And what is their ‘crime’? They have been demanding to keep the cyber library of the university open round the clock.
Students’ demand has sparked protests and indefinite hunger strike in the campus. But the university authority has banned any kind of protest on the campus now and numbers of students have been rusticated.
Vikas Singh, a political science research scholar of the university was rusticated on May 23 and just after three days on May 26 he along with other 8 students was arrested from the campus.
Meanwhile there was a clash between some doctors and students at trauma centre of medical college in the campus. Total 26 students were charged in the case. But Vikas claims that 9 students named in this case were not even present at the incident. He claims that it was a vendetta against those 9 students as they were among those who were demanding to keep the library open round the clock. Vikas in this case was named as a main accused and was charged with serious IPC sections including attempt to murder.
When a meeting was arranged between students and vice chancellor G C Tripathi to sort out the issue, students were given some weird answers on why cyber library could not be kept open at night. The chancellor said that there are chances of opening inappropriate websites by the students in the library during night and they were asked to study under street lights.
Hasiba Amin, General Secretary of National Students Union of India (NSUI) says that since its inception in March 2013, the BHU’s cyber library used to remain open round-the-clock. But later in November 2014 it was shut down.
Hasiba claims of infiltration by RSS and its ideology in the campus and says that since the appointment vice chancellor G C Tripathi the atmosphere in the university has been degraded to political rivalries. She says that a RTI report showed that number of professors had PhD thesis which was plagiarised. But there has been no action taken against them.
Hasiba says that there has been discrimination against girls in the campus. In boys’ canteen non vegetarian food is served but not in girls canteen. When girls asked why they were discriminated they were told that it was against the principles of RSS ideologue Madan Mohan Malviya.
As of now, there is no sign of the university administration bending to the demands of the students. The university is claiming that the sole motive of protesting students is to politicise the peaceful environment of the university.