Phone a friend: Ranchi University started its women’s grievance redressal cell from January 4
For most girls in Jharkhand, the road to college is riddled with comments, gropes and stares. Doesn’t matter if she is wearing jeans or salwar kameez. Doesn’t matter if she is alone on her scooty or with a mixed group or with girls.
A deluge of complaints is pouring in at the Ranchi University Women’s Grievance Redressal, set up on January 4 on the behest of University Grants Commission (UGC). Based on calls on its helpline, varsity will now regularly compile the complaints and place them before district administration to help the latter formulate ways to curb eve-teasing.
UCG on January 1 had directed all universities to give security to students and lady teachers and will inspect reports of institutions every month.
In the Ranchi University, on a daily average, up to 10 callers ring up the specially constituted helpline number 9431101176. In fact, as awareness grows, so do caller numbers. The cell has registered 35-40 complaints between January 7 and 11. Most dealt with random verbal taunts, but a few related to stalkers and physical harassment as well.
The cell comprises Ranchi University women professors Saraswati Mishra, Renu Dewan, Kunul Kandir, Renuka Thakur and Shamashul.
“I’m glad girls are speaking up. While most complaints poured in from Doranda College, SS Memorial College and Nirmala College, others close behind were Ranchi Women’s College and St Xavier’s College,” the cell’s member secretary Dewan, who registers the complaints said.
Dewan, also an associate professor of postgraduate psychology department, Ranchi University, has now asked girls to give in writing the different form of abuse that they faced so that a list could be submitted to the dean of students’ welfare, Ranchi University, C.S.P. Lugun.
Cell’s chairperson Saraswati Mishra, who is also the dean, faculty of humanities, Ranchi University, added: “The list will also help us state the security lacunae on road in a specific and realistic manner before district administration and the police. It will help them address the problems better and rein in roadside Romeos.”
Mishra, who promised speedy action “within a couple of days”, added that they would host college workshops for girls in the presence of police officers.
For college girls, it is a shot at long-term attitudinal change.
Rita Sinha, a final-year student of history honours, Doranda College, registered her complaint because she was “sick of being a victim”.
“It is an everyday affair. We became victims of lewd comments since we joined college. When we learnt about the helpline number on the college notice board we registered our complaint. Now, we are keeping our fingers crossed for justice.”
Ashwini Rai, a second-year geography honours student of Nirmala College, said she received comments from “local boys” on her way home. “We are taught by society to ignore these things. But now, with this helpline number, we have a safe platform to voice our grievances,” she added.