Hyderabad: There is fear and anger among students of the University of Hyderabad following the attempt of a group of youngsters to kidnap a girl on the campus on Thursday night. Hundreds of them gathered in front of the administration block on Friday morning demanding action against the culprits and increased security on the campus. Heated arguments, discussions and much more followed through the course of the day as students’ association leaders sat for a one-on-one with the administration officials to force them to take concrete action immediately.
Things got a little more rough as neither the vice-chancellor, pro vice-chancellor nor the chief warden were in town. The incharge VC Rajat Tandon, all deans of faculties, registrar, dean - students welfare, dy. dean - students welfare, deputy chief warden, leaders of various students’ associations and students’ representatives of different departments were present at the meeting.
The students presented a set of demands and insisted on the suspension of the chief security officer Victor Kumar besides pressing for action against the culprits. The acting vice-chancellor addressed the students after the meeting and sought to allay their fears by announcing plans for beefing up security on the campus. That failed to calm down the students who continued to argue and protest. Finally, the acting VC informed them that they could take up the matter with the vice-chancellor who is set to return Monday.
What happened exactly?
According to police and the university authorities, a white car bearing registration number AP7Q 6222 (Maruti Zen) entered the campus around 9:45 pm on Thursday. The car was stopped by the security post at the main gate and apparently, one of the ex-students, Dasari Ramakrishna from M.Tech course, requested entry along with his friends among whom was Chakrapani, a student of M.Tech course. The security allowed them inside after verifying the ID of Chakrapani.
Around 10:45 pm, it was reported that the occupants of the car were teasing a girl student near the Social Sciences Building. The MCA student was on her way back to her hostel accompanied by another student. The students were assaulted and the youngsters tried to pull the girl inside their car despite her refusal.
When the girl, an MCA student, and her friend raised an alarm, the other students on the campus and the security rushed and apprehended three of them while two others, including Chakrapani escaped. The three were handed over to the Chandanagar police who arrested and booked cases under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), Section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) and Section 511 (for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment) against them.
However, the students had a different version. According to them, the youngsters, five in all, were in an inebriated condition. Of them, Subba Nagendra, a 19-year-old from Amalapuram, Ramakrishna from Bheemavaram and Shiva Koteshwara Rao from Vijayawada were caught.
While Shiva an alumnus of UoH and Chakrapani, the M.tech student, are still at large. The trio was roughed up and their car damaged in the scuffle that followed the incident. “There were just four men in the car, when they entered the main gate and they were all drunk. This M.Tech student called the guard and asked him to let them in. The guards just let them inside without checking if they were drunk and whether they were outsiders. There have been times, when we walk in through our hostel gates and the guards are fast asleep. They do not even realise if somebody even jumps the wall,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous.
Not safe for girls?
Students, in particular girls, are understandably worried. “We do not feel safe on the campus. Thankfully, there were people around. Else, the girl would have faced a horrible situation,” said Narmada, an arts student. Adding to their fears were rumours doing the rounds that the administration was hiding the M.Tech student Chakrapani. “We have no idea why the guy is being shielded. They should have his photo. We have demanded the authorities to print his photos and stick them all around the campus,” fumed Saswata, a student.
However, officials dismissed the allegation as a baseless rumour. The area where the incident occurred is usually buzzing with activity. The Social Science block, a library, a reading room, the university auditorium, the MBA school and also the Health and Psychology Department all are around the same place.
“If such incidents can happen at a place like this, imagine the more deserted areas,” shuddered Lakshmi, an MA student. “The guards are not even following the e-pass facility, which was started very recently. According to it, every visitor needs to register for a visitor pass,” she said.
The students also claimed that there have been many such incidents before. “There were times, when outsiders hit guys from the university. But, the guards just kept out of it,” alleged Suramya, another student.
New security measures
- Security will be increased on the campus with more outposts, streetlights, lighting at the main gate, all hostels, random patrolling trips especially at nights etc.
- Security guards will be trained to be more vigilant and immediately respond
- A 24-hour helpline shall be created for students to call security. The number of security cameras will also be increased
- Contact details of the security personnel will be readily available on the varsity website and prominently displayed all over the campus.
- The Committee Against Sexual Harassment will also receive suggestions from the student body on various measures to be taken,