After being evicted from the hostel by Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, Apoorva, a fourth-year student, has filed a police complaint against the dean, Shashikala Gurpur, for forceful eviction and for trying to intimidate her into removing her Facebook post against a professor, who is accused of sexual harassment.
The complaint was filed with the Nandigama police, which falls under the Cyberabad Commissionerate. Following the complaint, the police registered an FIR under two sections—354 (B) (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation).
Apoorva and Snigdha, two students from the institution, were forcefully evicted from their hostel on Friday with immediate effect. “You are hereby requested to vacate the campus today i.e October 26, until further order,” the circular reads. They were orally rusticated from the institution as well, though they have received no official written order as yet.
In the circular, the institution says that the Disciplinary Committee had taken disciplinary action against Snigdha and Apoorva for an incident which happened in June, where Apoorva tried to leave the campus without obtaining an outpass. However, Apoorva and Snigdha allege that the authorities are using this incident as an excuse to evict them. They claim that they were evacuated from hostel because they ‘outed’ a professor and also shared the indifference of the institution when it comes to handling sexual harassment on Facebook.
On April 1, Apoorva and Snigdha wrote to the Minister of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Rights Development about how the institution poorly dealt with the cases of sexual harassment. In their complaint, they mention how the institute's director responded dismissively about the sexual harassment complaint against Assistant Professor Srinivas Methuku, who is under investigation by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for sexual harassment.
In their response to the Minister of Women and Child Development, Symbiosis International (Deemed) University, on May 3, said that they had ‘severely reprimanded’ the accused professor, and also said that the investigation revealed that the allegation by a student against Srinivas of making sexually-coloured remarks were misconstrued.
Slamming this investigation, Apoorva had written a Facebook post against the institution on October 10 by attaching an Instagram screenshot, where a survivor anonymously accused Srinivas of staring at her breasts and causing discomfort.
Taking strong objection to this, the Head of Students’ Affairs Puja Malhan had allegedly warned Apoorva that she and Snigdha would be rusticated if she didn’t remove the post and offer an apology.