Pondicherry University students on strike demanding removal of dean for allegedly torturing student

PUDUCHERRY: A section of students at Pondicherry University launched a strike on Thursday demanding action against the dean of college development council for allegedly torturing a first year postgraduate student and forcing him to admit that he entered a girls' hostel at night.

The protesters alleged that the authorities wanted to show that the university acted swiftly and nabbed the culprit after inmates of a few hostels had alleged that unidentified men, sometimes completely naked men, had been entering the hostels at odd hours, peeping into bathrooms and attempting to molest girls.

The protesting students said the dean, Hariharan, who is also the dean of academic staff college, wrongly accused a first year postgraduate student of Tamil department of barging into the girls' hostel naked. They charged that Hariharan, security officers and other staff members kidnapped and assaulted the student. He had been forced to admit that he had entered a girls' hostel at night, the protesters alleged.

The university constituted a committee which, after conducting a detailed probe, found that the accusations against the student were false and malicious. The committee found CCTV footage of the student sitting at the university library when the incident happened at the hostel.

Even after realizing the truth and the wrongdoings of the dean and his associates, the university administration has been trying to protect them, the protesters alleged. The student, who was tortured and humiliated for more than two days, attempted to commit suicide twice but was saved by his friends on both occasions.

The students demanded the university administration remove the dean and his associates with immediate effect. They urged the administration to launch genuine efforts to nab unidentified men entering the ladies hostels on the campus and to stop targeting innocent students.

They have proposed to lodge a complaint with the Kalapet police. A police official said the university management had initiated peace talks with the representatives of the protesting students. He said police had not received any complaint. He assured that the police would initiate appropriate action if the students came forward and lodged a complaint, after checking the veracity of their charges.

The students staying at girls' hostels have been complaining that unidentified men, sometimes completely naked men, have been entering the hostels at night. They staged protest last month, and authorities held peace talks with them and promised to strengthen security.

The university posted women security guards at all the seven girls' hostels. However, unidentified men continued to barge into the hostels at night. On one occasion, a stranger assaulted a woman security guard.


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