A college official told TNM that the hostel warden who had indulged in victim shaming has been asked not to enter campus till an inquiry was over.

After protests accused in SRM University sexual harassment case arrested
news Sexual Harassment Friday, November 23, 2018 - 11:36

A little over 12 hours after students of the SRM Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai raised their voices against sexual harassment inside their campus, the Maraimalai Nagar police have arrested the accused.

The accused is 26-year-old Arjun, a staff worker who clears out food waste from inside the canteens and mess halls. A police officer from the Maraimalai Nagar police station spoke to TNM and said that Arjun has been arrested and will be remanded on Friday. “The hostel warden filed a complaint on the man and we have arrested him. An FIR has been registered under sections 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place) and 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC and we will be remanding him immediately,” he said.   

The students of SRM’s Kattankulathur campus near Chengalpet were in for a shock on Thursday as the news of a campus worker masturbating in front of a girl student inside an elevator broke out. In spite of approaching the warden immediately after the incident, the students claimed that the college management did not take any action.

The students alleged that the warden of their hostel indulged in victim-shaming and told them not to wear shorts inside the hostel and instead cover themselves up to avoid such incidents. She also demanded that the victim had to give a letter in order to access CCTV footage. This lead to massive protests with hundreds of students joining in to support the victim.

Speaking to TNM, an officer at the Director (Campus Life)’s office in Kattankulathur campus said that a meeting has been called by the Vice Chancellor to discuss this issue with all senior authorities in the university. “The Vice Chancellor has called for a meeting today to discuss the matter. The next course of action will be taken after the meeting. As of now, we have asked the warden and the staff against whom the girls have complained to not enter the campus. We will initiate inquiry after the meeting today and then terminate those employees if the allegations are found true,” he said.

The students also alleged that the college brought in local thugs to intimidate them and make them give up the protest. 

“How did those men enter the campus without an ID card? The security guys don’t even allow us to enter the campus without it, so how did they come in and create panic?” asks a student requesting anonymity.

Responding to the allegations levelled by the students, the officer told that were not aware of a security breach. “We just came here this morning and hence don’t know if someone from outside came inside the campus last night to suppress the students’ voices. We will discuss that also in today’s meeting and decide accordingly,” he added.

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