IIT students seek more security

DAYS AFTER a canteen worker at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, was arrested for allegedly trying to film a woman resident at the institute’s hostel while she was in the bathroom, students on Wednesday wrote to the hostel manager, seeking additional security across the campus.

Night canteen worker Pintu Garia (22) from a hostel inside the Powai campus was arrested on Monday on charges of voyeurism for allegedly climbing a duct pipe and attempting to record a video of a hostel resident while she was in the bathroom on Sunday. Following this, the night canteen has been shut till an all-women staff is appointed. The students also questioned the administration’s decision to close the canteen indefinitely.

“The shut canteen is extremely inconvenient for the residents, especially for research students working late in the lab and students having mid-semester exams. By shutting down students facilities for an indefinite period, the administration is now simply bringing up rules to restrict the ease in the daily lives of female students, rather than ensuring the safety of the residents,” stated the letter.

Resumption of the night canteen with additional security is only one of the demands made by the hostel residents. The others included maintenance of CCTV cameras, incorporating barb wires/fences in areas outside bathrooms of the wing from where the perpetrator gained access, audit of all women hostel as well as the formation of a hostel women grievance cell that would comprise among others one elected student representative. They also sought regular updates on the cyber investigation into Garia’s arrest.

A student resident said, “As per the primary investigation, no video was found on the culprit’s phone. However, we are insisting on a proper cyber investigation to know if a similar incident had taken place in the past.”

The IIT administration, meanwhile, is firm on waiting before restarting night canteen services. “The canteen will resume functioning once it is staffed exclusively by women…” said a spokesperson.


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