The Mumbai Police on Sunday registered a First Information Report against a female warden of SNDT Women’s University hostel in Juhu for allegedly forcing a student to strip to prove she had a skin infection, The Times of India reported.
According to the student’s police complaint, a doctor had advised her to wear a sleeveless top due to a skin infection. “In the afternoon, after lunch, when I was walking to my hostel, warden Rachana Jhaveri called me and asked me why I was wearing sleeveless,” the complaint said.
The student in her complaint said she told Jhaveri about the skin infection, but Jhaveri said it was an excuse. “She forcibly took me to another room, made me strip and left,” the student said.
Jhaveri, however, denied the allegations, saying she had only asked the student to wear a shawl “because she was wearing inappropriate clothes”, according to Mid-Day. “It has already been made clear by authorities that students are not to wear inappropriate clothes in public areas, such as the mess and office,” Jhaveri said. “She wore a stole in front of me but removed it later; so I took her to the students’ union president’s room... Before I could understand what was happening, she started removing her clothes. I immediately came out from there.”
Registrar Meena Kute told Mumbai Mirror that the warden has apologised and has been sent on a four-day leave. Kute said she had called a meeting with students to address their grievances. “There are boys in the hostel, so we tell women students to wear decent clothes,” she said. “When girls wear short or transparent clothes, we tell them.”
An official statement released by the university said the matter is being investigated since a student has filed a complaint against the warden, reported Mid-Day. “[The] warden has been asked to go on leave. She has left the hostel,” the statement said.
Around 400 students staged a protest on campus on Sunday, demanding that Jhaveri be sacked. The protest was called off only after the university sent the warden on leave.
“An FIR has been filed under Section 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty) [of the Indian Penal Code], as the student was asked to remove clothes; investigation has begun,” an unidentified police officer said. “Our staff was present at the campus too, as students were protesting in large numbers, but the situation is under control.”