It is indeed ironical that on the day the government ‘celebrates’ Balika Divas, a posse of male policemen let loose their ire on a girl student in Benaras Hindu University and beat her up. The girl was part of a larger gathering of students who were protesting the callous, disgustingly patriarchal , and insensitive attitude of the BHU administration, who resorted to victim shaming, rather than come out in defense of a girl student who was molested right outside her hostel by a trio of men.
The shamelessness of the BHU administration, obviously run by the hand-picked ‘academicians’ of the present RSS-BJP dispensation cannot be ignored. Let’s look at the events that have led up to this conflagration.
The women students in BHU have been warned not to be outside their hostels after 8 PM. Why? No clear answers, except the insinuation that ‘good Indian women, and single ones at that, have no business being outside after dark’.
The women’s hostels, according to what the women have being saying to the media, are under lit and unprotected. Perverted males actually masturbate in front of the hostel, pass lewd comments and intimidate the girls. This, we understand, has been reported to the administration in the form of a letter by a section of the students. the reaction of the administration? No reply. No comment. No acknowledgement. And these are the jokers who make highfalutin statements about how precious women are, and how they should be ‘protected’.
The incident that has sparked off the protests is literally the last straw. A female student returning to her hostel was hounded and assaulted by three guys on a motorbike. Her complaint was turned against her with the proctor reportedly questioning her as to what she was doing outside her hostel alone after six in the evening! If this had happened in any private institution, this insensitive excuse for an administrator would have been axed. But no….
In desperation that girls try to rouse the Vice -chancellor. One even shaves her head in protest. The response? ‘Look, the Prime Minister -who happens to be the MP representing Varanasi (Benaras)- is visiting, so just keep quiet for now – we’ll deal with your silly little issues later’.
The same Prime Minister who came to power on promises that women in Uttar Pradesh would get a far better deal than before!
So what did you expect the students to do? Just shut up? So when the girls and other students didn’t want to be silenced, what do these chaps do? Call in the cops, use violence and intimidation, provoke the students so that they can have some excuse to beat them up and crush all dissent.
That, dear reader, is the naked face of authoritarianism.
This is the gang of misogynistic, bullying, insensitive louts whom Uttar Pradesh has voted into power.
And as for the illustrious, erudite, and charismatic Mr Modi … he remains unmoved. Don’t ever expect him to apologize to a group of dissenting women, nor for that matter will the Yogi Chief Minister.
Just watch as how the pseudo patriotic brigade will swing into action, and try to divert the discourse into yet another rant against ‘anti-national and immoral women’.
Bharat Mata ki Jai!
[Frank Krishner is a journalist and communicator]