The premises of the Narayana Junior College in Hyderabad's Narayanaguda area remained deserted on Friday, after a 'bandh' called by students from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The students accused the Dean, Jayasimha Reddy, of sexual harassing several female staffers, including a teacher, now identified as Sri Latha, ex-principal of Narayana School in Ashok Nagar, who had killed herself in 2016.
On Thursday evening, the premises resembled a war zone, as ABVP activists forced their way in, and destroyed property. Demanding action against Dean Jayasimha Reddy, the students entered his office and smashed windows, broke furniture and raised slogans, before overturning his desk.
Not stopping with that, they also pulled down a portrait of Andhra Pradesh Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Minister P Narayana, who owns the group of institutes, and paraded it all the way to the exit.
Amidst cries of 'We want justice', six student leaders were detained by the Hyderabad police, but not before the irked students smashed the rear window of a police car.
The audio note
The entire incident reached its violent peak on Thursday, after a 40-minute audio note of a phone conversation began doing the rounds on social media this week.
The phone conversation, seemingly between a female teacher of the institute and an unidentified man, makes some damning allegations against the institute.
Besides accusing the dean of constant sexual harassment of female staffers, it also alleges that there was large-scale corruption and irregularities in the group of institutions following demonetisation last year.
The woman details how the management converted black money to white money post-demonetisation, by buying land and property, besides 'converting' several lakh rupees in demonetised notes.
As the conversation goes on, Sri Latha's name also crops up.
The man states that Sri Latha had committed suicide due to torture by the principal, which she could not handle, and the woman replies in agreement.
Lowering her voice, the woman says, "Everyone knows why she killed herself. Do you know one thing? When her post-mortem was going on, 'Amar' fudged the report. She was pregnant."
Who is the woman in the voice note?
However, in a twist to the case, a woman, identified as Saritha Agarwal, the Principal of the Ramanthapur branch of Narayana Junior College, came forward and told media persons that it was her voice doing the rounds on social media.
"The voice is mine, but I was forced to say these things. One man harassed and threatened me physically, psychologically, mentally and sexually. My entire family went through trauma because of this. We are all under danger, and the person who released the note is guilty. I don't want to name him publicly," she said.
"Even if you listen to the audio note, it goes on without any breaks. He wrote everything and gave me a script, and asked me to speak exactly what was written. That's what I did. It is my voice, but I was clearly under stress. This person who made me speak, has been harassing me for more than two years, which is why I was forced to say that on the phone," she added.
"This person has taken advantage and used it to defame me, my family and the Narayana group," she concluded.
The audio note has also triggered off a domino effect, with another victim of alleged sexual harassment stepping up, and naming Deans Krishna Reddy and Jayasimha Reddy
The woman, identified as Sirisha, told TV9, "I worked as a principal in the Narayana group of institutions in 2013. At that time, there were many people who were harassing me, and behaving inappropriately with me. My superior named Krishna Reddy was also involved. They disturbed me mentally, following which I filed a complaint and brought it to the notice of the management."
"Instead of reprimanding them, they fired me for filing a case. Krishna Reddy is still working in the same place. Not only him, there are many such people in that institute," she added.
The audio note has also resulted in police complaints being filed across the city.
Speaking to media persons, Telangana BC Welfare Association member Narender Goud said, "The audio clip that is going viral on social media exposes the atrocities being propagated on teachers and students in the institute. We want the police to investigate the irregularities that allegedly took place during demonetisation, along with the other allegations."
Stating that he had submitted a representation to Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma, he added, "The police must investigate the allegations and prosecute those who are found guilty."
Meanwhile, a man identified as Naveen Goud, reported to be the Vice-Principal of Narayana College's branch in Ramanthapur, approached the Uppal police station stating that he feared for his life.
"The man approached us and said that he was being threatened for releasing the audio note that is going viral on social media. We have registered a case under Section 506 of the IPC (Criminal Intimidation) and further investigation is on," Inspector Y Narsimha Reddy told TNM.
Meanwhile, a case was also booked by the Narayanaguda police against the six ABVP activists who were detained under sections 452 (House-trespass), 427 (Mischief causing damage), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.
“We demand a thorough inquiry and stringent action against the officials found guilty in the institute. Earlier, only students were being harassed, but even teachers have joined the list now,” Telangana ABVP secretary L Ayyappa told TNM.
Meanwhile, addressing reporters, Narayana spokesperson N Veerababu said, "The audio note is not related to Narayana institutes in any way. It's a personal conversation between two people who are gossiping and passing comments. It is a campaign to defame Narayana and we ask people not to believe such things."
"However, we are still conducting an internal enquiry to see if there is any truth to these allegations. If true, we will take strict action," he added.