BHU row: Uttar Pradesh tops 'sexual harassment against women on campus' list
The highest number of sexual harassment against women in campus are reported from Uttar Pradesh. If one were to go by the University Grants Commission's data, the complaints, protest, violence in Benaras Hindu University is only the tip of the iceberg.
Out of a total of 103 complaints of sexual harassment on campus between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, 24 were from Uttar Pradesh. The official data collected by the UGC as part of its first attempt to check the problem of sexual harassment on campuses says Punjab and Kerala stand second in the number of cases. None of the 24 cases reported from Uttar Pradesh, however, were from the BHU
"Our universities have never been safe for women. Women are treated as though the administration is extending them a favour by allowing them to study in the university. There have been cases of professors harassing women and universities doing nothing about it. Students are made to suffer in silence since marks are in the hands of the perpetrator. Until the government steps in to check on such instances, the situation won't change," said Brinda Adige, a women's rights activist from Bengaluru.
According to the UGC's data, in Uttar Pradesh, cases were registered from Aligarh University, Ambedkar University, and Sharda University. Punjab and Kerala both have registered 16 cases of sexual harassment against women on campuses. Eight from Haryana, six each from Uttarakhand and Telangana, five from West Bengal, three from Gujarat and two from Rajasthan.
The highest numbers of cases came from Uttar Pradesh in concurrence with National Crime Records Bureau statistics. The sheer population may be a contributor as well. The UGC's data includes instances of eve-teasing, stalking, to sending vulgar messages.
The commission had asked all colleges under its purview to tackle sexual harassment of students and staff seeking action on complaints of all sexes. The regulation allows third-party complaints. If the victim is unwilling to come forward with a complaint, victim's friends, colleagues or any other person can file a complaint on their behalf.
If the administration refuses to take action on the complaint within three months of the offence, the university or college would have to face action including fund cuts if they failed to follow regulations.