Thursday, September 12, 2013

BHU student alleges communal abuses and insults

 Why don’t you go to Aligarh? What are you doing here? Such questions are posed almost every day, he says A student of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has alleged that university officials are pressing him to withdraw a complaint he recently lodged with the University Grants Commission over his “ragging” by a junior.

 Twenty-two-year-old Mahtab (name changed), third-year student of Linguistics (Honours), said he was subjected to “communal abuses and insults” by a second-year student at his hostel on May 10, and after he registered a complaint, he was being threatened and abused by the student and his friends.

 Mahtab initially complained to the hostel warden but found his response “unsatisfactory.” He then called up the UGC anti-ragging cell, which promptly registered his complaint and forwarded it to the BHU anti-ragging cell. The student alleged that authorities were pressuring him to withdraw the complaint and subjected him to “...counter-questioning.” “They asked me why I didn’t complain to the minority cell and [told me] that I shouldn’t have complained to the UGC as it has brought the university into disrepute,” Mahtab said.

His questioning was videographed. He also alleged that anti-ragging cell officials were pressing him to ignore the incident and learn to “compromise.” “Such things happen and I should ignore them and not let them hamper my career, the anti-ragging cell officials told me.

One official even told me that I would have to bow if I cared for my result.” The student said he was subjected to abuses and insults in the common room of a hostel on May 10, after which he was being regularly threatened and intimidated by students affiliated to right-wing groups. However, he claims this was not one-off. “Why don’t you [Muslims] go to Aligarh? What are you doing here?

We are asked such things almost every day. I will not withdraw my complaint,” he said. Meanwhile, the second-year student has filed a counter-complaint of physical and mental harassment against Mahtab. Anti-ragging cell head S.K. Srivastava denied the allegation that the university was trying to close the matter. “An enquiry is on, and a report will be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor in a stipulated time.

There’s no way the university has closed it off. But the counter-complaint… has made the case complex.”

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