Lucknow, Sept 28: Amid reports that the Human Resources and Development (HRD) Ministry has begun the process to find his successor, Girish Chandra Tripathi, the Vice Chancellor of Benaras Hindu University (BHU), said he will step down if he is asked to go on a leave. Tripathi said it would be insulting to go on leave and that he will prefer quitting. There were reports that pressure was being built on Tripathi for opting ‘leave’.
“So far, nothing of this sort has been communicated to me. I have been in touch with the HRD Minister (Prakash Javadekar) right from the day of the incident and have briefed him about the situation as well as the measures taken. But if am I asked to go on leave, I will resign,” Vice Chancellor G C Tripathi was quoted as saying. Tripathi, whose tenure ends on November 30, however, maintained that the HRD ministry has not directed him to proceed on a leave.
The BHU Vice Chancellor justified his refusal to go on a leave, arguing that he has made a significant contribution to improving the functioning of the varsity. “Having done so much, it will be insulting to go on leave two months before my tenure comes to end. I will prefer quitting,” Tripathi added. He has been at the centre of a firestorm over his alleged mishandling of protests by women students over an incident of alleged sexual harassment.
According to a report by Indian Express, the HRD Ministry has initiated the process to find G C Tripathi’s successor. The ministry officials, however, stated that the appointment of a new VC is completely “coincidental” to the timing of the unrest in the university, said the report. The Vice-chancellor had earlier declined report of being summoned by the HRD Ministry.
Earlier, Varanasi Commissioner Nitin Gokarn submitted his preliminary report to Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Rajiv Kumar in which he blamed the BHU administration for the violence at the university campus. Gokarn, in his report to the Chief Secretary, said that the BHU neither dealt with the victim’s complaint in a sensitive manner nor handled the situation on time. As the situation remains tense, the BHU along with other universities of the district have been told to remain shut till October 2.
The alleged eve-teasing incident had occurred on last Thursday night after which the students started a protest near the university’s main gate. A woman student of the Arts Faculty was allegedly harassed by three motorcycle-borne men inside the campus while she was returning to her hostel.
According to the complainant, the men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts. The woman alleged that security guards, about 100 metres from where the incident happened, did nothing to stop them. She said her warden, instead of taking up the issue with her superiors, asked her why was she was returning late to the hostel. The warden’s response angered the students who sat on a ‘dharna’ at the main gate midnight Thursday.