HYDERABAD: The arrest of a masters student from the University of Hyderabad for allegedly sodomising a first-year student has sent shockwaves across the campus. For few, it’s the realisation of their security on campus and on others an opportunity to call the varsity’s emphasis for gender-segregated hostels a farce.
The survivor, who hails from northern India, had sent a mail to the Internal Complaints Committee of the varsity on Sunday at 12:30 am, an hour after the incident. The next day, IIC forwarded it to the Proctorial Board which took the matter to the Gachibowli police the following day. On Friday, the accused was arrested. The masters student is currently in judicial remand for two weeks.
The incident has also opened a can of worms on how neither the administration nor the student bodies, including organisations and unions ever make an effort to open a dialogue about gender, rights, sexuality or queer Identities. “It is the lack of understanding of consent and aggressive masculinity, both within student community and administrative structure that lead to such horrific incidents,” says Debomita Sandhya, a Sociology student.
Students have also pointed that incident points to the faulty logic of university administration that hails gender-segregated hostels. “Clearly the logic that segregation is for security and safety against harassment falls flat because this time a boy was harassed by another. This proves that UoH is not as gender sensitive as it wants to proclaim,” said another student who did not wish to be named.
Oishani Mazumdar, communications agrees that the question now is that reason behind administration rooting for gender-segregated hostels and subsequently suspending 10 students last December for flouting the rules, was for the security of students. Though the University has not issued any official statement yet, officials say that it is not humanly possible for security guards to know what happens in a closed hostel room.
“Also, when we take steps to up the security, the same students say that their right and privacy are being violated. But we will review the matter in a few days after the Sankranti holidays,” said a senior professor.
Though the 19-year-old survivor wanted the case to be booked under Section 375 of Indian Penal Code which deals with rape, police have booked the accused under Section 377 ( unnatural sex) and 343 (wrongful confinement). Several students expressed their ire that the accused if proven guilty, would not be charged for the heinous crime as law lacks proper provisions to deal with sexual assault of men.