SP college turns into haven for goons as female students, teachers face frequent harassment

Oct 04, 2013, 09:54 IST | Niranjan Medhekar, Krunal Gosavi and Sachin Thakre

Outsiders and failed male students, who have taken over certain parts of the premises -- including canteen, main gate and open area -- tease and harass the women; institute management admits that problem exists, assures swift action

 The reputed Sir Parshurambhau (SP) College at Tilak Road is fast acquiring infamy as far as the matter of women’s safety is concerned. A part of the campus has transformed into a sanctum for goons, and women on the premises have become soft targets.

Harassment, lewd comments directed at female students and even teachers have become commonplace. Insiders say the college management has not initiated any action, but when MiD DAY contacted the principal, he assured that all these nuisances would be dealt with expeditiously.

In one such incident, last week a std XI student had approached Vishrambaug police station to lodge a complaint against a man who had allegedly been stalking her for the past eight days. However, her parents refused to file a complaint and yet another crime went unnoticed. SP College has a cell toassist women named ‘Sanvadini Vidyarthini Manch’, but, according to teachers, hardly any complaints are entertained here.

Shadow of fear: Last week, a Std XI student had complained to cops that a man had been stalking her for the past eight days

“The environment on the campus is completely different from what I had expected while taking admission here. Within two months I realised that this was the worst decision of my life,” a class XI student said. “The security guards only ask students for ID cards. They turn a blind eye to outsiders due to fear. If the security personnel feel insecure, how can the college ensure the safety of women?” asked another student.

Brave smile: Students of SP College have requested the authorities to establish an effective women’s grievance cell at the institute to counter the menace of sexual harassment

Rahul Meshram, a junior college teacher at the institute, who is also in-charge of the disciplinary committee there for the past many years, says he is waging a lonely battle. “The college has four-five groups of boys – comprising passed-out students and those who have been unsuccessful in exams. Most of them belong to the adjacent slums. They have taken over certain parts like the canteen, main gate and open areas, and they sit there the entire day. There only intention is to trouble the girls. Since they know that the college is ignoring the issue, their mischief is increasing progressively,” Meshram said.


Asked why the college administration is not initiating any steps to curb this, he said, “I don’t know why, but the administration has been neglecting this crucial matter. I have personally filed many complaints against these goons before the principal, but till today neither the college nor police have taken any measures.” Incidentally, when the miscreants came to know that Meshram was trying to thwart their activities, last year some boys pelted his car with stones.

“In the episode last week I had accompanied the girl to file a report. But every time the police asked me why didn’t the college didn’t issue a complaint against the boys, I don’t have any answers,” Meshram added. When contacted Dilip Sheth, principal of SP College, he said, “We are concerned about this issue. We have requested cops to patrol the campus on several occasions. I assure you that in the next couple of days we will take action.” “It is shocking that a reputed college like SP has presence of such gangs. The question is why’s the college principal hesitating in lodging a police complaint?” Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said. 

Different picture
Other hand, other city colleges have at least have functioning cells to deal with harassment complaints of girls. Nowrosjee Wadia College has one such facility, with six teachers on the panel. “The cell hardly receives any complaints from girls regarding sexual harassment. One of the reasons may be that the victims are hesitant to come forward.  That’s why now we have decided to place complaint boxes on the campus, in which girls can submit their grievances without mentioning names,” said Dr Ranjana Bhadane, teacher and member of harassment cell of Nowrosjee Wadia College.  Fergusson College has also displayed boards on campus giving information of the college’s cell, where female students can submit their complaints.  

They (the miscreants) have taken over the canteen, main gate and open areas, and they sit there the entire day. There only intention is to trouble the girls. Since they know that the college is ignoring the issue, their mischief is increasing.
-- Rahul Meshram, a junior college teacher at the institute

We have never received any complaint from the institute administration regarding nuisance created by outsiders. Rather than just verbally discussing such issues internally, the college must give us a written complaint.
-- Arjun Sakunde, inspector, Vishrambaug police station

The environment on campus is totally different from what I’d expected while taking admission. Within two months I realised that this was the worst decision of my life.
-- An SP College student 

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