New Delhi: Three days after students were lathi-charged on campus, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) continues to be tense. And the man in the middle of it all, vice chancellor Girish Chandra Tripathi continues to defend his stand on the issue, despite being under fire for ‘ignoring’ a woman student’s complaint on sexual harassment.
Even as the survivor and the protesting students stood their ground, Tripathi, on his part, said the issue was politically motivated. News18 takes a look at the man, who says outsiders are trying to malign the University.
Who’s Girish Chandra Tripathi?
Girish Chandra Tripathi is known to be a staunch RSS man, which he openly claimed. He has been associated with the RSS for the past four decades and is known to be a close associate of RSS icon Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya’s grandson Justice (retd) Giridhar Malaviya. The latter was among the selection committee members who recommended Tripathi’s name for the VC post.
Tripathi took charge as the VC of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on November 28, 2014, prior to which he was a professor of economics at Allahabad University. He has also been the president of Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) and is also, currently, the chairman of the prestigious IIT-BHU.
No stranger to controversy?
His appointment as BHU VC was followed by a string of theatrics, one of which was varsity students accusing him of imposing RSS ideology within campus. Soon after he took over, Tripathi brought in a number of changes and many directly impacted lives of girl students in hostels—he allegedly banned consumption of meat in the girls hostels, since it made women ‘impure’. Students have also alleged that the VC allowed RSS cadres to hold rallies within the campus, to the extent that Tripathi himself was reportedly seen hoisting flags of the RSS student’s wing and that of ABVP.
Among other things that irked the students was him curtailing library timings. BHU has a 24x7 library, but the VC restricted its timing to 8 pm saying that students misuse the cyber library to watch pornography. It irked the students and some even protested against the library timings. An RTI reply had revealed last year that girls had a curfew of 8pm. In an interview to a media publication, he quashed any problems with the timings, adding that it was absurd for anyone to be hungry at midnight, hence the argument of stepping at night for food was redundant.
There have been reports of the college administration banning use of mobile phones by girls after 10 pm and also that the VC dissuaded girl students from studying after 10pm. When accused of running the University as an RSS shakha, Tripathi said that there was nothing wrong in establishing an RSS shakha in BHU, since the Indian government itself belonged to the RSS.
Tripathi had ruffled a few feathers when he expelled well-known activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey on charges that he participated in “naxalite and anti-national” activities within the campus. However, Pandey came forward and denied the charges, saying he was sacked on the instructions of RSS because he raised his voice against saffronisation of the University.