HYDERABAD: The University of Hyderabad, generally considered safe for girls, has of late been witnessing a sudden spurt in cases of sexual harassment. While students believe the perpetrators are people who do not live on-campus, few security measures have been implemented to check the entry of outsiders, particularly in the evening hours.
“Guards at the gate leading to the ladies hostel rarely check those entering the campus. Absence of street lights makes it worse,” says Amu (name changed), a student of first year at the School of Humanities. Due to the lack of adequate security measures, students are forced to act on their own. Two days ago, a female student called her friends for help when she was harassed by a person on a bike. In vindication, her friends taught the person a lesson but one does not get lucky everyday.
“In January, one of my friends was hit by three goons on a bike while she was returning after attending a fest. No one knows who the people were and what their motive was, but it has stopped us from venturing out after 6 pm except in big groups,” says Amu.
Most of the cases go unreported as students do not want to get involved in the proceedings of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment which registers the complaints and acts on it. “The committee has 14 members drawn from staff and outside and a meeting is called when the scale of the crime warrants so. Also, there are cases handled by the chairperson and the punishment is decided depending on the magnitude of the crime committed,” says Kranthi Naduri, a student representative of the committee.
The committee has been voluntarily organising drives for gender sensitisation on the campus to prevent such incidents but the response from students has not been encouraging.
An application under the Right To Information has been filed by the students with the committee inquiring about the number of cases registered and complaints acted upon. But no response received so far.