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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Girl students living under shadow of fear ineffective

Mehakdeep Grewal , Hindustan Times  Patiala, November 23, 2013
First Published: 22:49 IST(23/11/2013) | Last Updated: 23:51 IST(23/11/2013)

Most of the girl students in the Royal City of Patiala are living under shadow of constant fear of being teased, harassed, stalked or hearing lewd comments while studying on the campus.

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Though Patiala is the educational hub of the Malwa region, the security of women remained unaddressed by the authorities.

"Instead of addressing our grievances, the university authorities in turn blame us for being sexually harassed. Outsiders enter the university campus, stalk girls and harass them right under the nose of the authorities, yet they don't take any action against them," alleged Harjaspreet Kaur, a Punjabi University student.

Many girl students, including schools, are being stalked and harassed every day.

Many girls complain the moment they step out of their houses, a fear of being stared at with undressing eyes or being stalked occupies their minds.

Female students across educational institutes in the city rued sexual harassment committee formed at institutes/colleges to address issues related to sexual harassment, but these turned out to be dummy committees because of their failure to take result-oriented action on their complaints.

Government Mohindra College principal Sukhbir Singh Thind said: "It's difficult for us to provide security to more than 2,500 girls studying in our college. Often I have taken up the matter with the district administration that outsider boys trespass on the college campus and create nuisance. Though we have planned to install CCTV cameras on the campus for the security of our students, the need of the hour is to set up a police post near the campus."

It was tough for educationalists to provide security to girl students, said Thind, adding that it was the duty of police and the district administration to provide every education institute at least two security guards so that the girl students could study without any fear and panic.

Not only girls, but their parents too are living under the shadow of the same fear.

Parminder Kaur, mother of a schoolgirl, said: "Girls are being harassed even at school level. School bus drivers and conductors stare at teenage girls with undressing eyes, making it difficult for the girls to commute."

While authorities at most of the educational institutes/colleges remain in total denial that girls are being stalked and teased on the campus, students rued whenever they went to the authorities concerned to lodge their complaints, they asked them to forget the matter and refused to register their complaints.

Despite students complaining that they have been subject to harassment on the campus, none of the educational institutes have any record of cases registered with the special women sexual assault committees.

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