HYDERABAD: When students of the University of Hyderabad venture into the varsity’s vast expanse at night, they are often confronted by security personnel. One such incident on Wednesday night has triggered a major debate in the campus on the right to access public spaces viz-a-viz safety and security concerns. The UoH campus is spread across 2,300 acres, of which 500 aces is open space. On Wednesday, at around 9.30 pm, two students--a male and a female--spending time together at a secluded spot known as white rocks was hauled up by a professor and a team of security guards.
“They knew we did not have any substance that is banned inside the campus, like alcohol, cigarettes or drugs,” said one of the students. The officials cited safety concerns as a reason to deny the youngsters access to the public space. “When we tried to justify with them that rather than restricting movement of students they should ensure a safe campus, our ID cards were confiscated. One security personnel began shooting a video of us arguing,” the student said.
The incident has not gone down well with students, who are accusing the security personnel in the campus of moral policing. They have also raised objects of recording video clips without consent. Following the incident, representatives of the students union reached the security office and protests broke out.
In March this year, three boys allegedly tried to rape a girl at a spot in campus known as High Rocks while she was spending time there with a friend. In October last year, a masters student drowned while swimming in a natural pond near Mushroom Rocks; he was allegedly inebriated.
Reacting to the development University spokesperson professor Vinod Pavarala said: “Nobody will interfere if the students sit in well-lit areas where they are meant to sit. It’s not about moral policing, but about safety. If something goes wrong, parents will blame the university administration. There are patches in campus that aren’t well-lit and those inhabited by boars and snakes; they can be dangerous.”