Harassment in any form is not to be tolerated. More importantly, it should be addressed and punished precisely. SRM Women’s Hostel in Chennai recently witnessed a harassment. On 22nd of November, a garbage man, appointed by the hostel management, masturbated in front of a girl in the elevator. The man was already in the elevator before she got in and he followed her up to her floor and jerked off in front of her.
She screamed and immediately went to the warden. The warden blamed her clothing style and implied that she herself was the reason for his behaviour. She also commented on how the victim was of a north Indian state and she had no reason to be studying in this south Indian state. The warden mentioned that they are aware of all the north Indian students drinking and smoking in their rooms and if the victim didn’t shut her mouth then she will inform their parents regarding the same.
The convicted garbage staff, Arjun.
Finally, after a heated discussion, the warden asked her to write a letter, so that they could access the CCTV footage and identify the man. And when they did, the hostel management replied that the man was not a staff that they had hired. Still, the management requested them to keep silent regarding the issue and move on. But the students did not. They took matters into their own hands. They planned a protest and agreed between themselves to publicize the issue. Once the warden heard of it, they shut them in and locked the gate. But the girls broke the gate and protested outside. Soon people started gathering, media began to arrive and their whole college came in support of the protesters.
The crowd of protesters outside the Women’s Hostel of SRM Chennai.
When the management realized that they couldn’t control the crowd, the Vice Chancellor was called regarding the matter at hand. Despite being of such high authority, he bluntly accused the girls of blowing up a simple issue. Sources say that when the Vice Chancellor was approached by the protesters regarding their problems, his exact words were “Don’t make a fuss out of nothing”. The utter disregard shown by the VC, concerning the harassment accusation, led to more protests. His negligence to such an issue sheds light on the decay and decrepitude of the authoritative position. But, in spite of all the sneer and suppression, the protesters emerge victoriously. The accused, Arjun, gets arrested the next day and was charged under section 294B and 354 by Maraimalai Nagar Police.