Varanasi: Onkar Nath Singh, Chief Proctor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), resigned from his post late Tuesday night.
His resignation comes in the light of the massive protests and the backlash at the university following an alleged sexual assault and increasing incidents of eve-teasing on campus. His resignation was accepted by vice-chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi.
Speaking to Firstpost, Singh said, he submitted his resignation around 11:30 pm, after a ‘realisation that the problems in the varsity’ were nowhere close to ending.
"I have resigned from this post taking moral responsibility for everything that has happened in the university in the last few days. Despite working tirelessly for the institution, the problems are unending,” he said. He also termed the incidents "unfortunate."
This move also comes in the backdrop of reports that the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) summoned Tripathi to Delhi on Tuesday to demand an explanation. While the BHU media team claimed this was a regular ‘executive council meeting’, the Tripathi vehemently denied it and even called it a false report spread by the media.
The alleged incident of sexual assault which evoked sharp criticism from student groups', politicians and activists alike, turned the BHU campus into a protest ground. The police were criticised for resorting to lathicharge and beating up female students. The police, however, claimed that the students had resorted to violence.
Singh, who'd been a professor at the Ancient History and Archaeology department of the BHU for more than 25 years, served as a proctor for the past seven months. Singh will continue to teach at the university.
When Firstpost queried if Singh had been asked to step down, he refused to comment. However, Singh was sure to add: “I'll let you (the media) decide if I am being made the 'scapegoat' of this controversy.”
Sources told Firstpost professor Mahendra Kumar Singh, head, Department of Ophthalmology, has been handed the additional charge. But when Firstpost contacted him early Wednesday, he seemed unaware of this development. “I'm only learning about this from the media,” he said.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government launched a judicial probe into the matter. Government spokesperson Shrikant Sharma told media on Tuesday that strict action will be taken initiated against those found guilty.
Students remain unconvinced. They have termed Singh's resignation a farce and an eyewash.
Poorna (name changed on request), an arts student, said the students had been demanding that Tripathi step down.
“Is this a ploy to divert the attention of students? she asked. "The agitation will continue till Tripathi steps down."
Another student, Avinash Ojha, said that by holding the proctor responsible for the incident, Tripathi was playing every card possible to save his own skin.
“The proctor has been made the scapegoat. If he can resign on moral grounds what is Tripathi waiting for? He should resign immediately.
Saurabh Sharma and Amit Singh are freelance writers and members of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.
Updated Date: Sep 27, 2017 12:53 PM