On November 1, a Banaras Hindu University student who is a resident of a hostel there left her room for the walk inside campus at around 1.30 am. The girl is a student of B.Tech. in mathematical engineering. He met a friend of his on the way. They were both walking together. Suddenly, from nowhere, one motorcycle and three men approached them from behind. They parked their motorcycles and separated from both friends.
First, they forced the girl to take her clothes off; they fiddled with her body and one of them was shooting this video. Then another man took his turn and raped the girl, while one was raping and the other was taking video. Gradually, they ended up beating her for resisting. These guys pushed her friend away so that he could keep him out of the crime scene. The victim was forcibly taken to an isolated area, where she was sexually assaulted. Threats were issued and his phone was confiscated.
They forcibly kissed her and molested her for hours at gunpoint. After raping her one by one, the girl was left behind in bad condition, and the accused fled from the university campus. A friend somehow managed to reach the victim and dropped her back at her hostel.
A day later, hundreds of students protested at the institute’s director’s office to demand better security on campus. Varanasi Police took two months to trace these rapists. Those arrested are Kunal Pandey of Bridge Enclave Colony Sunderpur, Anand alias Abhishek Chauhan and Saksham Patel of Jivadhipur Bajardiha. The police have also recovered the motorcycle used in the crime.
After the crime, the police launched a thorough investigation and extracted footage from more than 170 CCTV cameras across the BHU IIT campus. After about two months, with the joint efforts of the Crime Branch and Lanka Police Station, Kunal Pandey and his friend were detained from the Susuwahi area and interrogated. This arrest is an important breakthrough in the case, giving the victim hope of getting justice.
There was a ruckus for many days; the issue of dividing BHU into two parts was heated. After this incident, the students of IIT BHU demonstrated fiercely at the director’s office, where the students of BHU supported them. After this, the issue of separating the IIT campus from BHU by raising a wall was raised, and then the students of BHU as well as the professors and alumni got angry and created a ruckus, did many marches, and warned of agitations, terming it wrong, after which the matter went into cold storage.
The accused are Kunal Pandey, Anand Chauhan, and Saksham Patel. All of them are in their 20s and are residents of Varanasi. Days after the incident, another female student of the varsity claimed that he was molested by a driver of the university bus. BHU has become the most unsafe place for female students. The BJP’s youth workers have become arrogant and fearless due to the supreme authority of the party. Unfortunately, Hindu girls are attacked by Hindu boys; earlier, the same state in Uttar Pradesh bashed Muslim youth even if they were seen around Hindu girls and these boys are given every right to ride on their whims and fancies.
It’s very shameful even to say what’s happening at BHU. Students are protesting not for a state-of-the-art laboratory, fully air-conditioned classrooms, or international faculties but for security. They have a very simple demand: a secure campus. Varanasi, which is the electoral constituency of PM Modi, is not bothered to provide safety to female students at Hindu University. What could be the worst fate for Hindu girls here?
Isn’t it very fundamental to provide security to students? An atmosphere where one can walk without being scared of harassment or being judged? An atmosphere where we don’t distinguish boys and girls and, above all, treat them as students? An environment that promotes overall development for students? If we are not even able to provide this basic safety, I think we are letting down not only ourselves but the whole of humanity. We need to understand that not only the BHU administration is responsible for this whole fiasco but we as a society also need to take collective responsibility. This is not the first time such an incident has happened; BHU was not the first institute where it happened. Every day in the newspaper, we read of cases where someone was harassed, raped, groped, or misbehaved. When the BJP was in opposition, they always attacked the UPA over women’s security. Since the BJP came to power, there has been a rise in such crimes against women, but now they are all mute spectators.