It is with great shame and anger that I write this article.
Here I am, just a few weeks since I became an official graduate from Manipal University and those memories of all the fun I had with my friends still echo fresh in my heart and soul. At such a moment, it is painful to be informed that a girl was abducted right from the center of the campus and sexually assaulted.
I pray for the victim but at the same time I am shocked, angry and frightened at the effects of what has happened and what it could mean to all of us.
The country has crossed its peak of tolerance towards crime against women. We are witnessing the emergence of a revolution in the system where we are moving towards more transparency. Delhi gang rape has not been forgotten yet. And at such a moment, to be informed of this outrageous event will boil anyone’s blood especially for a person like me, who always considers himself a true Manipalite.
I still remember the time when I was in first year in 2009. The curfew still used to be 12.00 am. And it was not till the last two years that we saw a paradigm shift towards the change in curfew timings. I mean no offence and I say it with immense respect but anyone who was there with me during 2009 to 2013 would agree that KMCIC was at its full strength with a much more NRI population roaming the campus then what we see now. Yet we never ran into any such incident.
I feel it is time the university and especially the district administration realize that controlling the curfew and closing down pubs is not a solution. We had more clubs then and girls were freer than today yet they were safer. The administration needs to know that taking measures such as placing a curfew of 10 pm is equal to asking women to not step outside. It is equal to our money minded and unsympathetic politicians and bureaucrats asking women to not wear “instigating” clothes because they have FAILED to control crime. They feel that locking oneself indoors means that crime has become non-existent.
What we need is stronger and more importantly – efficient campus security. Not just guards who sleep and are least interested in their duties but guards who realize that they are watching over the lives and safety of a couple of thousand students who are the future of not just India, but the world too. The police can do better than walking into clubs and beating up people and they of all should realize that the real people who need the beating are walking unscathed and untouched.
And foremost, I pray that God drops some sense into the local auto-drivers and some sick-minded localites. They should know that their sole existence and livelihood is dependent on the university. Such an incident will affect the name of the university especially with the admission season running. With no students, there will be no Manipal and no source of income for them.
We the people should take it upon ourselves to make sure that proper action is taken. I am not asking you to march in protest, as they are forgotten easily. What I ask is that we all take an initiative where we make a resolve to protect our campus from these anti-social elements by playing a more active role.
We need to fight this crime by not imposing limitations but in a way that ensures freedom… not just for women but everyone… so we can study at ease and enjoy the phase of our life called “College-life” the way it should be enjoyed while feeling safe and secure.