BHU, times a-changing? : VC out, first woman proctor in!

Varanasi/New Delhi : Things are changing, for the better, hopefully. BHU (Benaras Hindu Univesrity) Vice Chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi, under fire for his alleged mishandling of student protests last month, has proceeded on indefinite leave citing personal reasons. And the university has finally appointed a woman as Proctor, whose first public response was that a clothes ban and alcohol ban for women is simply not on.

Tripathi, who is scheduled to retire on November 30, has gone on “indefinite leave”, BHU officials said.

The development comes amid indications from top HRD ministry sources that the central government was upset with the manner in which he handled the entire episode, including a protest by women students of BHU following an incident of alleged harassment.

However, HRD officials maintained that the ministry has not asked Tripathi to go on leave and it was a “personal decision”.

The Banaras Hindu University VC had told PTI last week that he “will resign if the ministry asks him to proceed on leave as it will be insulting for him”.

However, calls and messages to Tripathi about his next move did not elicit any response.

According to norms, if the university head goes on leave, the Rector will act as the head and, in the Rector’s absence, the varsity Registrar will assume charge as the VC.

Tripathi’s replacement, till he is on leave, has to be decided by the HRD ministry.

The ministry has already put out an advertisment seeking applications for the post of his successor.

Last month, a number of students, including women, and two journalists were injured in a baton-charge by the police after a protest against an alleged eve-teasing incident turned violent in BHU, one of the 43 central universities in the country.

Tripathi had earlier said that the violence was fanned by “rumour mongering” and “outsiders”.

The varsity’s Chief Proctor O N Singh had also resigned, taking “moral responsibility” for the campus violence. His resignation had paved the way for appointment of the first woman proctor at the university.

Royona Singh , an assistant professor at the Institute of Medical Science (anatomy department), is the first woman in the university’s history to hold the post of chief proctor. She also heads the women’s grievance cell of the university.

After taking charge as the chief proctor, Royona had assured that she would keep safety and security as the first priority. “We’re here because of the students. The women come first, but everybody’s safety is my main concern,” she had said.

Professor Royona Singh, the first woman to be appointed the chief proctor at the restive Banaras Hindu University (BHU), has declared that there will be no ban on dress or alcohol for the women students.

In an interview to The Times of India, Singh, who said she is named after a French town, said, “I was born in Europe. I frequently travel to Europe and Canada. Putting a dressing restriction on girls would be like imposing it on myself. You start your day at 6 am and end at 10.30 pm, and if you still can’t wear what you feel comfortable in, then it is a shame in this era.”
The professor of anatomy at the 101-year-old institution said she finds it strange “when boys use the words ‘skimpily clad'”. “If a girl feels comfortable in what she wears, what’s their objection?” she asked.

 

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