Students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) stage a protest against the molestation of a student inside the campus in Varanasi on Sept 23, 2017IANS

Just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi left Varanasi on Saturday after a two-day visit, police cracked down on women students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at night. The police resorted to  lathi-charge on the protesters who demanded a safer campus following an alleged molestation of a female student. 

Several netizens and political leaders have come out in support of the girl students who were mercilessly beaten by male police personnel. 

In a video that has emerged on Twitter on Sunday morning, policemen are seen brutally hitting a woman student outside her hostel. No woman constables could be spotted in the footage.

The clashes occurred when a group of students tried to enter the Vice-Chancellor's residence.

Students claimed that the police assaulted without provocation and even tried to enter the women's hostel, NDTV reported.

During the violence, at least three motorcycles were set on fire by some protestors. The police personnel posted at the campus said the situation was under control on Sunday.

Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter to condemn the police crackdown.  "Lathicharge on BHU students is condemnable. The government must find solutions through talks and not force. There should be action against those involved."

Social activist Shabnam Hashmi called the UP police the 'most shameful'. 

Official apathy

The students have been protesting against the university administration for not taking any action against the molestation incident reported by a first-year student. 

"The woman alleged that three bike-borne men harassed her inside the campus when she returned to her hostel on Thursday evening. The men abused her and fled when she resisted their attempts," NDTV reported. 

The security guards did nothing to stop them while her hostel warden, instead of raising the issue with the administration, questioned her why she returned late to the hostel. 

"She is in trauma and such an incident can happen to anyone. This campus is not safe at all," said Ankita Singh, a student of the campus.

The students hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would react to the issue during his visit to Varanasi as he himself represents the constituency.    

"If you go inside the campus in the evening, you will realise that harassment is a common problem here," said Shweta Mishra, a student.

Rajesh Kumar Singh, the public relations officer of BHU, said, "80 percent of the protesters are outsiders. This is a politically-motivated protest."