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RSS backs BHU VC Tripathi, blames ‘urban Naxals’ for protests

Anurag Dey | Updated on: 27 September 2017, 22:03 IST
(Arya Sharma)

There is a rising clamour for sacking Banaras Hindu University Vice-Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi over his allegedly misogynist remarks and the violent crackdown on the protests by female students in the University.

However, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has decided to back Tripathi arguing that his continuation at the helm is essential to saving the varsity from “urban Naxals”.

BHU has been in the eye of a storm after female students protesting over the University administration’s apathy towards an incident of molestation, were baton-charged by the police.

Besides seeking to downplay the molestation incident, Tripathi -- a self-proclaimed RSS man -- blamed “outsiders” for the protest turning violent. He even went to the extent of claiming that all those who were beaten up were “outsiders”.

Already facing severe criticism over his handling of the situation, Tripathi’s misery compounded with the Varanasi district administration belying all his assertions.

Varanasi divisional commissioner Nitin Ramesh Gokarn who headed a probe panel into the violence, not just affirmed the molestation incident but held Tripathi responsible for the violence.

“The issue could have been resolved, had the Vice Chancellor acted on time,” said Gokarn who has submitted his report to the UP government indicting Tripathi.

But an unperturbed Tripathi chose to justify the decision saying “If we are going to listen to every demand of every girl, we won’t be able to run the university”.

While Opposition parties such as Congress and BSP have been demanding Tripathi’s head, the RSS and the BJP government at the Centre, have firmly backed him.

Endorsing Tripathi’s view of outsiders inciting student unrest, the RSS insisted his stay was essential to counter the Left’s bid to vitiate BHU.     

“The police action is unfortunate. Yes the matter could have been dealt through dialogue with the students, but that doesn’t means the VC should be sacked,” said an RSS leader.  

“Left has lost political relevance and in its desperation, it is trying create student unrest.  After JNU, urban Naxals are now targeting BHU,” alleged the leader.  

“Left radicals, with active support from Opposition parties, are politicising a strictly administrative issue,” he alleged.

Downplaying the case of molestation, the leader said, “It’s the administration duty to investigate the incident (molestation) and take suitable action. The BHU administration has conducted probe, the state government has ordered an enquiry. The chief proctor has resigned. Whatever is required is being done,” he said.      

Besides the molestation incident, the students have also been up in arms against the varsity over its gender discriminatory rules and regulations.

A section of students have petitioned the Supreme Court against BHU’s sexist rules which include prohibiting  female students from eating non-vegetarian food and talking on mobile phones late at night.

The RSS leader accused the protestors of being “anti-national”.  

“Hiding behind student protests, these radical elements are inciting anti-national ideology. We all know how JNU reverberated with chants of ‘Kashmir ki Azadi’”.

“BHU is a symbol of India’s tradition and culture, his (Tripathi) stay is essential to prevent the prestigious university from falling prey to left radicals,” he said.

The RSS’ view has also been endorsed by Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BJP, with chief minister Adityanath alleging a conspiracy by “anti-social elements”.

"Prima facie investigation suggests it is a conspiracy by anti-social elements," said Adityanath whose government has ordered a magisterial probe into the matter.

Speaking in the same vein, his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya too asserted that BHU won’t be allowed to become a political battleground.   

"Some students holding protest in BHU wanted to turn the temple of education into a battleground of politics, but the government will not allow this at any cost.

"BHU was set up by Madan Mohan Malviya on the basis of some ideals and principles and not for doing politics as is being done by the Opposition parties. The government will never allow such designs to succeed," said the deputy chief minister.

The incident has also attracted the attention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW).

While the NHRC issued a notice to the UP government and BHU calling for a detailed report in the matter, the NCW too ordered a probe and reminded the vice-chancellor “to act like a responsible administrative head, who ensures safety and dignity of women”.

The Union HRD ministry is said to be unhappy with his handling of the matter but is unlikely to act against Tripathi whose tenure as the BHU VC is due to end on November 26.

Tripathi, who was in the national capital on Tuesday, has given a detailed account of the entire incident to the HRD ministry, but denied reports of being summoned by it for an explanation.     

Earlier on Tuesday, BHU chief proctor Onkar Nath Singh, resigned from the post owning moral responsibility in a move aimed at easing the growing pressure on Tripathi.

First published: 27 September 2017, 22:03 IST