WOMEN students of BHU have risen up in protest against the administrative shielding of Prof SK Chaubey who has been found guilty of sexually harassing women students. The complaints committee against sexual harassment enquired into allegations that the professor made obscene gestures and vulgar comments to women students during an academic trip to Odisha last year, and found him guilty. The committee recommended stern action. But the university’s executive council reinstated the professor after a mere eight-month suspension, sparking the fresh wave of protests by women students.
BHU is the same university that saw the historic upsurge of women students in the month of September itself in 2017 against the administration's denial to act against a complaint of molestation. In 2017, the BHU administration rather than ensuring justice to the complainant, blamed her for being out of hostel at 6pm in the evening. And this year, the BHU administration has shamelessly let a professor who sexually harassed women students go unpunished.
Shielding sexual harassers who are in power positions or close to the administration has become a norm under the present regime. If the BHU Administration is shielding Prof SK Chaubey, the JNU Administration has been shielding Prof Atul Johri who has been accused of sexual harassment by several women students. In all such cases we see the administration blaming the protesting students and resorting to punishing women instead of taking action against the sexual harassment.
This is the reality of the propaganda of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' under the present government. In the PM's own constituency, in a central university like BHU women are not free and safe.
AISA and AIPWA expressed solidarity with the BHU movement, demanding that
- Prof SK Chaubey must be suspended immediately
- All restrictive rules against women students must be revoked.
- Administrative interference in enquiries in sexual harassment must stop and an independent anti-sexual harassment cell must be established.