Students from the University of Hyderabad staged a massive protest on Monday demanding better security on campus after two students were allegedly assaulted. “UoH, which prevents the media, parents, academicians and social activists to enter the University, could not prevent the entry of culprits who assaulted students,” the students’ union said in a statement, according to The News Minute. “It is a shame.”
The protest came two days after the Hyderabad Police arrested four minors for allegedly attempting to rape a 19-year-old student in a restricted area near the university. The four assailants, who had reportedly entered the campus to steal copper wires, first attempted to rob the woman and her friend. When the two refused to hand over their mobile phones and money, they reportedly tried to rape her and tore her clothes, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Madhapur Zone) Vishwa Prasad had said. The four beat up the woman’s friend and even tried to strangle him with a belt.
The students said they have identified several entry points to the campus where there is no security. “Multiple instances of assault on the major roads of the campus which students regularly use to access library, hostel, etc. have been reported,” said the students. “These areas are not properly lit and we insist that all the street lights on campus be made functional. Proper lighting will help in reducing the problem to a certain extent and might help the students feel safer while moving in the campus.”
The students added that the security personnel deployed on campus were mostly men and they often lacked sensitivity. “Proper sensitisation about gender issues must be given to the students, faculty, teaching and non-teaching staff to ensure a campus where female students can live without the fear of being intimidated or assaulted,” the students said.
The students also protested against the administration’s decision to reduce the number of seats for PhD and MPhil courses, increase the application fees and other academic matters, reported The Times of India. “Whether it is seat cut or arbitrary suspensions, the administration’s attitude towards various issues has been biased,” Prashant Dontha, a research scholar, told the daily.
The students staged the protest on a day the academic council meeting was under way at the Life Sciences building. The students said the administration deployed additional 40 Rapid Action Force personnel and local policemen at the venue. “Heavy security deployed by the university makes it clear that several anti-student discussions were being held at the meeting,” Dontha told The Times of India.