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Sexual harassment on Pbi varsity campus :Probe ordered, officials to come up with distress redressal app for students

The university authorities have decided to come up with a ‘one-touch response mechanism’ mobile application to provide immediate assistance to students facing distressful situation on campus
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON SEP 17, 2019 11:23 PM IST

A day after the alleged incident of sexual harassment at Punjabi University, Patiala, vice-chancellor Prof BS Ghuman has ordered an inquiry into the matter so as to fix responsibility behind the entire episode.

Taking serious note of the incident, senior officials of the university management held a detailed meeting to review security arrangements for the students, as Sunday’s incident has put the varsity’s security system under scanner.

“A committee has been constituted to conduct an internal inquiry into the matter. Anyone found guilty for any security lapse, will be dealt with strictly,” the V-C said. He added that it is a serious issue as safety of students is utmost priority for the university.

Dean student welfare (DSW) Dr Tara Singh will head the internal inquiry committee and submit a report to the vice-chancellor.

The incident took place at around 10:30pm on Sunday, when two students, including a girl, got injured in a brawl that took place after some girls were allegedly sexually harassed on campus.

Five of the students including three females, from the department of theatre and television were returning to their hostels at the time of incident.

Three unidentified motorcyclists intercepted them on the way and the accused started passing lewd comments at the girls and thrashed their male friend, when he objected to such unruly behaviour. The girls were pushed and abused.

A case has been registered under Sections 354 (criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed with a common object), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 (acts done by several persons of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The university has decided to come up with ‘one-touch response mechanism’ to provide immediate assistance to students encountering distressed situations on campus.

“With the help of an app, anybody caught in an emergency situation or facing some trouble will be able to alert the security personnel nearby. This information will immediately reach to main command centre as well,” the V-C said.

 He added that the app will help in providing security to the student within a short time. “The app will also evolve a system to track and locate the security personnel on duty,” Ghuman said.

Issuing stringent instructions to the security officials, Prof Ghuman said they should ensure that entry on campus after 10pm will only be allowed after checking a valid identity proofs.

“It will help to stop entry of outsiders on campus. Security officials are also directed to conduct surprise inspections on university campus,” he said.

He has asked officials to take necessary actions for making  behaviour of security personnels polite and cooperative towards students.    

The officials were directed to ensure adequate lighting arrangements to avoid any untoward incident in future. While talking about some rooms lying vacant at hotels during holidays and vacations, he directed that hostel authorities to check them regularly so that no unoccupied room is left unlocked.

Urban Estate station house officer (SHO) Harry Boparai said no arrest has been made so far in the case. “We have managed to identify one of the accused identified as Prince, of Bahadurgarh. Raids are being conducted at his residence, but he is still at large,” the SHO said.

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