Protest Day Held Against ABVP-UP Police Violence on Women Protesting Against Sexual Harassment In BHU

Condemning the ABVP-UP Police violence on women students protesting against sexual harassment in the IIT-BHU campus in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, AISA organised country-wide protest day on November 6, 2023. On November 5, ABVP goons in nexus with the police, unleashed brutal violence against students of BHU who were in the streets demanding a GSCASH in the university to end the gross and repeated instances of sexual harassment on campus.   The ABVP as a 'student organisation' has not only failed to raise students' concerns demanding gender justice and sensitisation but has in fact made several failed attempts at sabotaging the students’ protest at Lanka Gate of the campus. 

On the night of 1st November, a female student of IIT BHU who had gone out for a walk with her friend was sexually assaulted and recorded by three men in the campus. This incident took place merely 50 metres away from a Proctorial Booth of the campus. The survivor later filed an FIR against the accused. The students of BHU came out in large numbers against the rampant sexual and gender violence on the campus, challenging the misogynistic narratives of moral policing and survivor blaming perpetuated by the BHU administration.

A similar scale of movement had erupted in 2017 when another BHU student was sexually assaulted on the campus. Even then, the BHU administration and the police tried its best to push the matter under the rug when ICC's inaction was brought into question by policing the female protestors, evacuating women's hostels and booking the protestors with FIRs. 

Issuing diktats of curfew timings in the hostels and increasing surveillance especially on the female students has been administrations' old trick in their attempt to isolate such instances from the larger misogynistic and patriarchal culture which are entrenched in our institutions and therefore require institutional redressal mechanisms like GSCASH. However, today once again the demand of Bekhauf Azadi permeates BHU's walls.

It is important to note that even after six years, BHU doesn't have a democratic body for the redressal of the cases of sexual harassment like GSCASH. Moreover, the cases of sexual harassment have only gone up with instances of eve-teasing, catcalling becoming a norm.

This also unmasks the truth of BJP's Beti Bachao Beti Padhao when in PM's own constituency educational institutes become increasingly unsafe for women and other marginalised gender identities. Hollow claims of lawfulness and attack on crime by the chief minister of UP also stand exposed.

AISA in a statement noted that from barging into Miranda House, DU and sexually harassing women to thrashing women protesting sexual harassment at BHU, it is clear that ABVP stands for the patriarchal orthodox agenda of hostel curfews, survivor blaming and character assassination.