IIT Bombay female students demand cyber investigation, to address loopholes in women’s safety

‘Insensitive comments by administration show ignorance’: IIT Bombay hostel students informed that Gender Cell is expected to sensitize about these issues.

IIT Bombay female students demand cyber investigation, to address loopholes in women’s safety IIT Bombay hostel students requested to address problems faced by them after an employee found peeping inside washroom.
Anu Parthiban | Sep 22, 2022 - 11:55 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay girls' hostel have requested for a thorough cyber investigation and to address loopholes pertaining to safety inside Hostel 10 after a canteen employee was allegedly reported peeping into the women's washroom.

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It has been informed that the mobile phone of the 21-year-old employee of the IIT Bombay hostel canteen, who was arrested for allegedly peeping into the women's washroom of a hostel building, had no pictures or recording videos of female students.

The women students of IIT Bombay in a letter addressed to Hostel Manager said, “There is a possibility that since this is a ‘guilty until proven’ case, the actual culprit is a different person altogether”. They also suspected that the videos were being sold in return for money.

Expressing concern over chances of videos getting leaked or used to blackmail female students in future, the students group requested to carry out “a full-blown cyber investigation and provide updates to the concerned students”.

Disappointed over the failure of the administration, the students questioned, “Whose responsibility is it majorly to ensure overall that all CCTV cameras are in working condition and no gaps in pipeline areas are existing which might facilitate perpetration inside the hostel?”

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Students demands to IIT Bombay hostel council

Asking the administration to address the problems faced by the students following the incident that added up to the harassment of hostel residents, they also pointed out the inconvenience caused due to the closing of the night canteen.

“Informally it has been suggested by security that the night canteen will be closed for a long time. This is extremely inconvenient for the residents. especially for PhD students working late in the lab, non-messing students, and students having mid-semester examinations,” the letter said. The women’s hostel is shut till an all-women staff is appointed.

“During the complaints of this sexual harassment incident by the residents on Sunday night, the Deans questioned the students why they didn't inform them before that CCTVs were not working,” it said. The questions by the Dean clearly suggest that the administration is escaping the underlying issue as to why the CCTV cameras were not replaced when they were not working. And whose actual responsibility this was?, they added.

It is also said that it is the Hall Managers' responsibility to ensure students are not allotted rooms that are not safe and more vulnerable to infiltration by outsiders.

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Further, they said that such “insensitive comments and behaviour of the administration and security on the face of complaint show the existing ignorance in handling such sensitive cases”. Gender Cell is expected to come forward and take responsibility to sensitise the full campus about these issues, it informed.

In addition to regular updates on the case, the students requested IIT Bombay to install CCTVs to ensure privacy and security of residents, an explanation about why the malfunctioning CCTV was not replaced on time and an explanation of how come canteen workers' washroom was allotted right below the girl's washroom with full access to the floors upstairs.

Barb wires/fence should be incorporated in the area outside the space outside bathrooms of N-wing from where the perpetrator was standing and videographing, they demanded.

They further suggested formation of Hostel women's grievance cell including one elected student representative as a member to ensure that no insensitive comments be made which might suggest victim blaming and to ensure that such sensitive issues be handled properly.

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