COIMBATORE: While Coimbatore City police have formed a special team to arrest owner and warden of a women’s hostel in BK Puram in Peelamedu, Coimbatore, for alleged sexual harassment, a few inmates told Express on Tuesday that there was a similar incident a year ago, which was solved amicably.
Then, the warden, Punitha, took a few girls to Ooty and after sightseeing, they went to a room in a hotel, where the owner, Jagannathan, was present. The warden asked the girls to stay with him, but the angry girls immediately returned to Coimbatore, a girl staying in the hostel said on condition of anonymity.
“The incident was settled amicably. Even we came to know about it only after these girls left the hostel. Initially, we did not believe it and suspected something wrong on the girls’ side. Now, we feel the Ooty incident really took place,” she added. The inmates are now concerned about finding new places at a time when many of them do not have enough money to shift immediately.“We came to prepare for a competitive exam and to write the test in Coimbatore itself,” said another girl, adding, “The rent is about Rs 8,000 and we have paid five months’ advance. As we are unable to contact the owner, we may not get this amount immediately even if we leave. So even if a new place is found, many of us do not have enough money to pay large sums as advance”.
75 inmates leave
Despite such problems, 75 of the 180 inmates vacated the hostel on Monday night. They have demanded refund of the advance. Another 80 students, now in the hostel, have filed requisitions to vacate. They are waiting to get back the advance before moving to another place.Meanwhile, the City police are investigating whether there were any such unreported incidents there.
“Besides the BK Puram hostel, Jagannathan owns a hostel in Thanneer Pandhal, also in Peelamedu. We are questioning the warden of that hostel. We will also check warden Punitha’s room, which is locked. We have asked another warden for the key,” said police sources.A senior police official said the hostel would be sealed if earlier incidents of sexual abuse or harassment are revealed.The Peelamedu police have booked the owner and warden on the charge of harassing five college students whom the warden took to a hotel for a treat.
The Peelamedu police
have booked the owner
and warden on the charge
of harassing five college students whom the warden took to a hotel for a treat