Hassan: The students of Rani Chennamma Hostel in Kittur, Halebidu, which comes under the District Social Welfare Department, have been protesting since last night over various issues including disorganisation, insecurity, harassment, extortion and attempts to sexually assault them.
The Government is spending thousands, and crores of rupees opening hostels and giving high priority to the education of girls. It is alleged that the principals, attendants and cleaners of Kittur Rani Chennamma Hostel are eating away the benefit of the Government scheme meant for students.
Hundreds of children have been protesting at Kittur Rani Chennamma Hostel, on the outskirts of the village, fed up with the atrocities on girls.
The students have accused cooks of abusing girls, usage of obscene language for girls by cooking assistants, and principal receiving money for everything from the parents of the students for schemes provided free of cost by the Government among others. The students have lodged a series of complaints against the attendant Shruthi, Principal Geetha Bai, another guard Shivayya and other cooks.
On the night of Tuesday March 7 , MLA K. S. Lingesh rushed to the spot and along with Taluk Social Welfare Department officials and Gram Panchayat officials asked students to call off children’s protest and assured action. But even on Wednesday March 8, the students continued to protest demanding that the issue be resolved.
District Social Welfare Department District Officer Manjunath, Taluk Officials, Gram Panchayat Officials and Members of the Child Protection Committee visited the hostel and received representations from the protesting students.
The students said, “There is no one to listen to and lodged our grievances here. Those who come from outside, come directly to the hostel and behave obscenely, while there is also no proper food, and comfortable accommodation.
The hostel students alleged, “The food is filled with silt and we are asked to eat the same. A man named Puneet touches and harasses the girls. He is accompanied by a Peon named Shruti. Principal Geeta Bai is aware of all this but she is not protecting us.
Instead, they are extorting money from the parents for the benefit of the Government. They are taking a bribe of Rs. 10 to make a phone call.
We also have to pay for the monthly pad that is actually given free of cost. We have to live in such a difficult situation,” the students alleged and complained of atrocities.
The students boycotted classes and staged a protest alleging that he, including Shivayya, along with a guard named Punith, had come drunk and behaving indecently with the girls.
Just like the atrocities that are taking place with the students of Kittur Rani Chennamma Hostel, there have been reports of atrocities being committed on students in Hassan Agricultural College as well. There have been allegations that there is a need to listen to din from teachers to the District Administration, District Women and Child Welfare Department or a judge who will personally look into the matter and take action.
Unsubstantiated complaint against atrocities
Ironically, despite all these protests by they students and complaining that they are being sexually assaulted, the District Social Welfare Department officials are not taking any strict action and are trying to settle the case.
The Social Welfare department has to lodge a complaint with the police about sexual harassment. It was found that the accused were only released from duty even though they were supposed to be entrusted to the police investigation.