Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Raj Babbar was arrested along with other party leaders on Sunday in Varanasi ahead of their participation in a protest demanding the sacking of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) vice-chancellor following the increasing incidents of eve-teasing on the campus, and action against the authorities who ordered lathi charge on student protesters on Saturday.
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Babbar was on his way to meet the BHU students injured on Saturday night in police clashes, according to a report by The Times of India. Senior leaders PL Punia and Ajay Rai, who were accompanying Babbar, were also arrested. The report also said that before the cops caught them at Gilat Bazar crossing in Varanasi, the Congress leaders evaded airport and police personnel several times.
The report quoted Babbar saying, "It is shocking that I am not being allowed to reach BHU to meet the injured girls and know their problem. They (policemen) started a bid to stop me from the airport."
To keep a check on the unrest in the campus, police arrested 14 students who were involved in Saturday's protest, News18 reported.
Congress' student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) held a protest in New Delhi on Sunday demanding action against the cops for alleged lathicharge on protesters at BHU, India Today reported.
Several female students, as well as two journalists were injured on Saturday when the police allegedly used force to remove protesters from outside the vice-chancellor's residence, Hindustan Times reported.
The students have alleged, the report added, that the police thrashed them and pulled them by the hair, a charge which the Varanasi district magistrate dismissed.
The students, according to a report in NDTV, claimed that the police lathicharged them without provocation, not even sparing women students. Students also alleged that the police entered a girls' hostel.
Violence erupted in the BHU campus after the police were informed when some students tried to reach the vice-chancellor to protest against a harassment incident on the campus.
On Thursday, a woman student of the arts faculty was harassed by three men on a motorcycle inside the campus. The woman alleged that security guards, about 100 metres from where the incident happened, did nothing to stop the men. She said her warden, instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked her why was she returning late to the hostel.
The warden's response angered the student's colleagues, who sat on a 'dharna' at the main gate on the midnight of Thursday.The protest forced authorities to change the planned route for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy on Friday.
The students said they had to face eve-teasers inside the campus regularly and the administration was not taking any action to stop the miscreants.
Police and BHU professors tried to pacify the students on Friday, but they refused to end their protest and sought assurances from the university vice-chancellor.
The scuffle took a political turn as the BHU blamed the students of trying to malign the university's image just before Modi's visit. The university also said that security guards were regularly patrolling the campus and assistance from the police is sought from time to time to maintain peace on the campus.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2017 06:31:57 IST