Published: 20th March 2018
After rape attempt, UoH students steer clear of popular campus hangouts, call for better vigilance
Students at the University of Hyderabad feel two areas which serve as a hangout spot for most students need to be patrolled better to avoid such incidents
The University of Hyderabad (UoH) is still reeling from the shock following the alleged attempted rape of a student on March 16, the fourth such sexual assault incident within a fortnight on campus. According to G Anju Rao, a first-year MA sociology student, the quick succession of the incidents have created a feeling of lack of safety on campus.
"The incidents indicate that the security manning the three gates are a farce as anyone can enter in the absence of a properly defined boundary wall. This is very unnerving," she said. While some demanded tight security and construction of high walls along the perimeter of the varsity, others raised the issue of increasing the mobility of campus and making it gender equitable.
"The requirement is not just about increasing the height of the boundary wall or mending them, installing street lights or beefing up the security. There is a need for a dialogue where women can talk about the issues they have faced or what scares them as this campus belongs to them as much as to anyone of us," said Jeevan Kumar, a student.
In the wake of the assault and attempt to rape on the High Rocks, an area within the campus, students have restricted their movement along the off-road areas. Most of them prefer walking in groups post-sundown. "It is not just about fear of any untoward incident taking place but also due to increased surveillance by the authorities," clarified Anju.
Barsha Chetia, a final year MA Communication student, feels there is a need for patrolling post 10 pm in the restricted areas- High Rocks and Mushroom Rocks- as they are frequently visited by students for hiking, trekking or for hanging out with friends.
While students demand an increase in security, some of them are apprehensive that it would give the administration another opportunity to moral police them. Prof Vinod Pavarala, spokesperson of UoH said the area was restricted but he does not want to blame anyone for what happened. Last year, 10 students were suspended by the administration when a women student was found in a men's hostel during a surprise inspection.
"There is no denying that we worry that the administration may try to take the easy way out and apply curfews and stop us from accessing various spaces on campus but this is the drawback of seeking safety on campus," said Paulomi Ghosh, another PG student.
(This story was first published in The New Indian Express)