BHU's new chief proctor says safety her top priority to make university 'a home away from home' for girl students

The new chief proctor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and her concern for the safety of students has come as a major relief for the girl students of the university, who have been fighting for better security and gender parity on campus. Saying safety and security of students is her priority, the first woman chief proctor of BHU, Royona Singh, is planning to tweak the rules to 'make BHU a home away from home' for female students.

Singh has said that there would be no restrictions on students on the basis of their gender. She said that girls will not be penalised over a dress code or for consumption of alcohol. There will also not be a ban on non-vegetarian food in the canteens at the university, she added.

File image of Royona Singh. Firstpost

File image of Royona Singh. Firstpost

Speaking to reporters after her appointment, she said: "Safety and security of students is my first priority. We're here because of the students. The women come first, but everybody's safety is my main concern." Singh plans to introduce a number of stringent measures to ensure safety.

"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, it is a shame in this era. I find it strange when boys use the words 'skimpily clad'. If a girl feels comfortable in what she wears, what's their objection?" Singh was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

She added that she wanted to establish a "home-like atmosphere" for the students. "It's like a home away from home for many of us here, so the conditions should also be like the way they are at home. We want them to feel safe and strong here," she said.

"For this, our vision is safe hostels and the presence of more guards, particularly women guards. The recruitment of women guards began under my predecessor but we plan to step up the process and recruit and station more female guards," she told The Hindu.

After the molestation incident which triggered massive protests against the lack of security on the BHU campus, Singh said, "I was away when the incident took place. I have zero-tolerance towards such acts and will ensure nothing of this sort is repeated on campus."

In efforts to increase the safety, Singh also took rounds of the institution's premises on a bicycle. She was escorted by guards as she patrolled the area at night.

She has also constituted a quick response team (QRT) to ensure security on the campus, which would include three security guards and a driver. This team will move throughout the campus to ensure the safety of its students.

Singh, an assistant professor at the Institute of Medical Science (anatomy department), heads the women's grievance cell of the university.

Singh was appointed after former chief proctor of BHU, ON Singh, resigned taking moral responsibility for the lathi-charge on some girl students who were protesting against the molestation of another student on campus and demanding better security.

Updated Date: Oct 04, 2017 16:26 PM