“I was taken to a dark room where they beat me with lathis. My crime was to have worn a black shirt”.... "They would catch hold of girls' hair and ask, ‘With this kind of face, you have come to study?’ (or) they would ask girls why their clothes were tight, they would ask this in a demeaning way in front of all.”
This is not what happened at a torturing camp. According to some students, this is how they were treated in their engineering college.
Sri Sairam Engineering College in Chennai has been making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
First, a photograph of a document titled 'Special Instructions For Girls', where the college had some dress code for the female students went viral. The circular said that the female students are not allowed to wear leggings, high heels, short kurtas, patialas, large watches or leave their hair loose among other stipulations.
It also said that women aren't allowed to bring chocolates inside the campus in large quantities, not allowed to have Facebook and WhatsApp accounts and talk to boys.
However, the college authorities had said that it was 'fake' and that they will take action against the 'prankster.'
Now, some of the former students of the college have released a video, alleging torture by college officials.
Lokanathan, Dinesh Kumar, Pradeep Durairaj, Zaufer Sadiq--students from the 2003-07 batch--speak of the cruelties of a Campus Director Balu, who reportedly terrorised them with threats and violence.
“Floor supervisors are just rowdies hired by the management to 'discipline' students. Wearing white shirt and black pants, they would roam around the college,” Dinesh Kumar, one of the former students, said. He said that the sentries are appointed on every floor as supervisor, and they all report to Balu.
Remembering a moment of torture under Balu, Sadiq said, “I once grew a small beard. Balu handed me a blade, not a razor and asked me to shave it. After I finished scraping my beard, with bruises all over, I was asked to pay Rs 200 as fine.”
The students allege that college officials beat them when they questioned the college rules. Apparently, there are ‘dark rooms’ for this purpose on campus too.
According to this The Hindu report, following protests by the students, the engineering college has now removed the Campus Director Balu.
Anna University has initiated a probe into complaints by students regarding harsh measures and rules on their campus.
“The students’ main complaints were the removal of the Campus Director Balu, and protection for women students. We have now removed Mr. Balu as campus director as well,” Saiprakash Leo Muthu, CEO, Sairam Group of Institutions, told The Hindu.
The college has also decided to appoint women as floor supervisors to prevent alleged cases of sexual harassment by the earlier supervisors.
However, when asked if girls and boys are allowed to talk to each other, Leo Muthu, said only "when it is about academics."
“On the buses, boys sit in the back and girls in the front. It is only when we find boys and girls from different streams talking, that there is some objection, because the talk cannot pertain to academics,” he said.