VARANASI: Even as the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is weighed down by protests by girl students alleging molestation on campus, police records have revealed that a male student was raped inside the university premises last year. Students who stood by the survivor say the incident did not generate much noise "because of BHU's homophobia." In fact, many students are not even aware such a crime took place on their campus.
According to station house officer at Lanka police station, the incident took place on August 17 last year. A chargesheet was filed in November and the accused, who was an administration staff at the university, was arrested in December. He served six months in prison.
In his complaint, the survivor, a 22-year-old student of law who is still pursuing the course at the university, said he was taking a stroll inside the campus when he was dragged into the car by a man who forced unnatural sex on him. Soon, more men joined him in the car. The complainant alleged he was drugged by the accused.
A friend of the student says though the complaint had mentioned the involvement of multiple men, police registered a rape case and not a gang-rape case.
Charges against the accused were framed under sections 377, 328, 342 and 506 (unnatural sex, drugging, wrongful confinement and intimidation).
Requesting anonymity, the friend says, "He lives outside the campus now. No one other than close friends stood by him after the incident. Even the FIR was registered 15 days after the incident. University officials, including the vice-chancellor and registrar, had dissuaded him from going to the police. But we went ahead and put pressure on the police to act on the complaint."
He reasons that topics like homosexuality are not discussed on the campus. The BHU is homophobic, the subject makes everyone uncomfortable. "How can you expect someone in such a place to stand up for male rape victims?" he adds.
Speaking about safety on campus, a student of the women's college says, "I feel more unsafe inside the campus than outside it. Every man who moves around the campus on a bike is wont to eve tease or oggle at women students. There are so many poorly lit lanes where we feel unsafe at night."
When DNA brought up the issue of safety with the university administration, it expressed helplessness, citing it cannot restrict the entry of outsiders.
"The campus has a hospital, a temple, faculty residences and so many other units that general public access. Hence, we cannot restrict the entry of outsiders. At any given time, there are around 1.5 lakh people on the campus.
“We cannot check each and every person," says Rajesh Singh, public relations officer of BHU.