As secure as women students feel inside their hostels on the Khandwa Road campus of Indore’s Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, treading the path leading to the university classrooms ends up giving them the creeps.
The hostel inmates have to pass a heavily wooded patch during the 15-minute walk to class, during which they are harassed by male students as well as outsiders. They also have to walk past the men’s hostel, which turns out to be a harrowing experience.
Complaints raised by hostel inmates as well as student unions NSUI and the ABVP have fallen on deaf ears. “The road connecting our hostel with the university campus suffers from lack of security. We are vulnerable to attacks, and most of us face lewd comments,” said a hostel inmate.
A hostel inmate was recently stabbed while heading back to the hostel, causing a lot of worry among others. “That incident shows how vulnerable we are,” said Mamta Singh, a post-graduate student.
Neha Dubey, a second-year B Com student, complained about this to university officials recently. However, they simply asked her to take the longer and equally unsafe BRTS route. “Every evening, dozens of goons gather in front of the hostel’s main entrance. They pass comments at the girls, perform stunts and disturb us by blowing horns. In the evening, it is too unsafe to even walk there,” Dubey added.
The women complain that each hostel has just one or two guards posted at the gate, and unarmed to boot. “They are not trained to handle hooligans. Miscreants perform indecent acts in front of the gate, but the guards are too scared to act. They say their job is solely to prevent outsiders from entering the hostel,” one of them said.
Chief warden Shakti Banerjee agreed that security arrangements in the residential premises are wanting. “Our hostels are run through self-finance courses. The university has not hiked the hostel fees for the last four years. We have to manage everything from employee salaries to electricity bills with the meagre funds at our disposal. The security situation concerns us too,” he said.
Banerjee said university officials recently discussed increasing security on the road connecting the women’s hostel to the UTD rear entrance with the police.
However, Juni Indore city superintendent of police Shashinkant Kankane said there was no such concern. “There is enough police protection on Takshila campus as well as the premises of the women’s hostels. A PCR van with female constables is deployed in Bhanwarkua. But if women students still face problems, they are free to inform us through CrimeWatch and the police hotline,” he said.
More than enough security guards deployed on campus: NK Dhakad, DAVV V-C
The route from hostel premises to rear entrance of Takshila campus is a cause of concern for girl students. What is the university doing for security arrangements?
VC: The route is not under the DAVV jurisdiction and students should avoid this route if they have security concern and take the longer route instead via BRTS.
But many students complain that even the longer route is not safe during evening hours as hooligans gather and make lewd comments?
VC: Maintaining law and order is not our job. Police have to take action on this. If students are facing any problem, they should take police help to prevent such activities. We take police help time to time if any untoward incident happens.
Guards fitness and skills is also a matter of question. Students say they are not fit and lack skills.
VC: If we deploy youngsters as guards, the next day the students will complain of that. If we deploy middle-age guards, where is the problem?
Security guards and supervisor at UTD campus complain that there are not enough guards to take care of the campus.
VC: The number of guards deployed at the campus is more than enough.
Many students complain about girls’ hostel warden who punishes hostel inmates if they are late even by five minutes. Are you aware of it?
VC: What’s wrong in that? Girls have to report to their warden on or before 8 pm. We are responsible for their security and if any student has problem, she is free to move out of here (hostel).