A large group of students of Banaras Hindu University have been sitting in protest on the campus since Saturday night after a professor, who was suspended last year over sexual harassment allegations, returned to take class.
On a Facebook page where the students are uploading photos of their protest, they are seen huddled at a corner of the campus till dawn, as more joined them this morning. They have also put up a black banner with the hashtag "#misogynistVC" printed on it.
Professor Shail Kumar Chaube of the Zoology Department was accused of passing vulgar comments and making obscene gestures at girl students while accompanying them on a study tour to Odisha in October last year.
The professor was first suspended and a probe was ordered in June this year. However, the highest decision-making body of the university in the temple town decided to revoke the suspension and instead censure the professor, sources said.
The top officials of the university said Chaube was reinstated after looking at the report submitted by the university's internal complaints committee. They told the protesting students that the professor has been censured and this action will go into his service record.
Chaube returned to taking classes a few days ago, sparking protests. The university administration has met with the protesting students to pacify them.
"He (Chaube) was suspended till the time the inquiry report came. The highest decision-making body decided to give him the harshest punishment. The Chief Proctor, Deputy Chief Proctor and the Registrar have spoken with the students. They asked the students to discuss their issues with them," Banaras Hindu University professor and spokesperson Rajesh Singh told reporters.
"The students should stop their protest. This decision (to reinstate the professor) was taken on June 7. It's September now. I request them to tell us anything they want, but not protest in this way," Mr Singh said.
Students alleged they are not convinced with the university's actions. They say they will protest till the professor is sacked and a First Information Report (FIR) is filed against him.
The students alleged there are more sexual harassment allegations against the professor that should be investigated.
BHU, a central university, has a 1300-acre campus at the temple town popular with tourists. Another 2,700-acre campus of the university at Barkachha, in Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur district, is coming up.
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