A nursing student of Banaras Hindu University has filed a police complaint against chief proctor Royana Singh saying her eardrum had ruptured after the varsity official punched her repeatedly to break up a protest last week.
Manju Kumari, a BSc third-year student of the School of Nursing under the varsity’s Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), said in her complaint with Lanka police station a doctor had told her the “membrane of my ear was damaged”.
Singh, who has filed a counter-complaint with the same police station in Varanasi city, has denied attacking Manju and other protesting students who had staged a sit-in on November 29. “Nothing of the sort happened,” Singh had said on Thursday.
The students had sat on protest against a decision by the Indian Nursing Council to derecognise their bachelor’s course since 2015 because of lack of teachers and ill-equipped departments.
But the students of the Uttar Pradesh nursing school, a five-decade-old institute, learnt about the decision only recently as the IMS had not publicised the notification that affects the future of 260 aspiring nurses.
They had on Wednesday met BHU vice-chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar and IMS director V.K. Shukla, but didn’t get any assurance from either. They had then decided to stage the sit-in at the varsity gate.
Manju said the chief proctor assaulted them as they sat in protest. “Accompanied by security guards, Royana Singh reached at the gate of the institute where we were organising (the) sit-in and started kicking and punching me and other students,” Manju wrote in her complaint on Saturdayafternoon.
“Later, my classmates told me that blood was coming out of my left ear. I also had problem in hearing. But I ignored it at that time. There was severe pain in my ear on Saturday and so my friends took me to hospital where a doctor told me that the membrane of my ear was damaged,” she said. Manju submitted a medical report from Dr Rajesh Kumar, ENT surgeon at the hospital at IMS-BHU, that confirms her eardrum has been damaged.
An hour later, Singh submitted a police complaint against Manju and four other nursing students — Reena Maurya, Shikha Singh, Abhishek Singh and Shashikant Pandey — accusing them of attacking the security guards and preventing some students from appearing for semester exams.
Singh rubbished Manju’s allegation. “We had tried to remove the students from the gate of the institute. We didn’t attack them,” the chief proctor told reporters.
A male student who asked not to be named said there were 260 women nursing students on dharna on Thursday and a dozen male students to protect them.
“While the chief proctor and the guards were mercilessly beating up women students, we were trying to protect our classmates,” he said.
Later in the night the students had suspended their agitation after the VC promised them that the de-recognition controversy would be sorted out by March next year.
In September last year, BHU guards and police had baton-charged students protesting an alleged incident of molestation on the campus, sending some women students to hospital.