KMC students demand changes after fellow student assaulted
Manipal: Following the assault of a fourth year MBBS student of Kasturba Medical College, Manipal (KMC) on Thursday night by three men in an autorickshaw, the administration of KMC held an open discussion with its students regarding possible steps to prevent future attacks. The authorities also announced that the student was recovering from the assault and that she wasn’t gang-raped.The discussion was held in the KMC Interact building on June 22 and was attended by numerous members of the faculty along with the students.
Numerous security measures were proposed, which were then considered based on their practicality. An increase in campus patrol vehicles with frequent patrolling, better armed guards, barricades at designated locations and better lighting on certain roads around the KMC campus were suggested. Furthermore, setting up committees for sexual harassment complaints in colleges, displaying hotlines to campus patrol and security control rooms in visible locations and mandatory ID cards for all those who enter KMC campus were recommended as well.
The students were commended by the Dean for behaving in a civil manner with the authorities on Friday night outside the manipal.edu building. As the discussion in Interact progressed, both sides of the room patiently assessed the incoming suggestions.
In order to ensure that the autorickshaws entering the campus can be identified easily, the students agreed that they be allotted separate serial numbers and tags, and only those with these sanctioned digits be allowed entry. They also requested that a common bus service be put in place for students residing outside hostels who use the library services late at night.
Limiting the movement of construction workers after a particular time of night and having a student friendly campus patrol regardless of whether they were on campus or off were mentioned. When the students expressed their opinion that the guards seem to be targeting them instead of strangers, Dr G Pradeep Kumar, Dean of KMC, responded by saying, “Security should be caring about those inside and not those outside.” The students also demanded that the newly appointed Chief Security Officer (CSO) make a public statement stating their personal accountability for any lapses in security. The previous CSO had handed in his resignation on Friday night.
In light of the recent assault, the students have decided to unofficially boycott the use of autorickshaws around Manipal. Hoping that the assaulters would be caught soon, the boycott has been planned for the next ten days, with further action being decided depending on the progress of the case.
TMJ would like to thank Nikhil Mohan for his correspondence.
Update (June 23): Superintendent of Police M B Boralingiah, while speaking to TMJ clarified that rape has not yet been verified medically. He said, “It is sexual assault, but we are still waiting for medical reports. Our main focus right now is to crack the case. We have a few clues, but we are still working on it. The abduction happened in front of MCOPS, but we are not sure where she was taken. That fact can only be confirmed by the victim.”
Sub-edited by Nishara K.P