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Rape Threats From Faculty, V.C’s Fake Resume And All That’s Fuelling #SavePondiUniv Protest

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By Shalini Panicker:

The Pondicherry University Students’ Movement began on the 27th of July ’15, Monday, against the Vice Chancellor of the university, Mrs. Chandra Krishnamurthy, due to her fraudulent CV and inefficient administration of the Central University. This protest had begun with the aim of immediate removal of the V.C. This protest was non-violently done within the university grounds. However, we were disrupted violently by the pro V.C men.

Image source: Youtube.com
Image source: Youtube.com

The various reasons for the protest span from Human Rights violations to fake academic credentials, severe administrative inefficiencies and financial misappropriations. The various reasons have been enlisted:

Human Rights violation

A student named Radhakrishnan, from the School of Tamil, was stripped naked, tortured and brutally assaulted by Professors, named Mr. Hariharan and Mr. Bhushan Sudhakar, yet no actions were taken against them. They continue to hold key positions within the university.

Two girls named Kavya and Vidya were openly molested and yet the two sexually harassed victims were the ones who were suspended. Even the protesters who supported them were suspended. There is a High Court case pending on this matter.

Several sexual harassment cases have gone unnoticed even to this date. While there is no official women’s cell, the authorities do not even take written complaints from female students either.

An assistant Prof. A Praveen threatened female protesters with rape when they stepped out of university grounds. Yet, he walks around scot free on bail. The V.C is trying to deviate the case by saying that students filed a complaint on him as he belongs to the SC/ST.

Administrative Inefficiencies

The University administration has been hiked to a great degree compared to other central universities. This prevents the economically weaker section of the society from joining, which defeats the purpose of having a central university.

The stipend and scholarship for PG and PhD students have been delayed for almost three years. The Ph.D. theses of many students have purposely been not forwarded to any examiners for many months which is preventing students from progressing academically.

The funds allocated for opening a 24 hours reading hall lays unutilized, as even though the building has been inaugurated by the previous V.C, Dr. J.A.K. Thareen it’s yet not functional. The funds allocated to various departments to buy new books, journals and editions haven’t been utilized as no new books have been purchased in the libraries for the past two years.
The health center within the University campus is ill equipped and lacks skilled doctors. Several misdiagnoses have been reported.

There was a proposal by the former V.C to build two high-rise buildings for accommodating 2000 students, which would have solved the accommodation crisis currently plaguing the university. Due to the same reason, many meritorious students had to withdraw their admissions. Now, four students have been dumped into a single room and there are no rooms available for more than 60% of those who joined in the academic year 2015-2016.

Fraudulent CV of the Vice Chancellor

There are innumerable anomalies in Mrs. Chandra Krishnamurthy’s CV, starting from her publications, several of which have not been published, as supposed. Ironically, she received her Ph.D. in 2002 from an unrecognized university in Sri Lanka. And in a span of ten years she became the Vice Chancellor without having worked as HOD for 10 years as prescribed by UGC guidelines. She claims to be a gold medalist. However, RTI claims otherwise regarding her PhD, publications and CV for that matter.

Since day 1, the protest was completely held within the university grounds and was conducted in a non-violent manner. However, there have been hindrances from goons, rowdies and other pro V.C men. On day 5, there was an illegal lathi charge on peaceful protesters which led to several injuries and one critical head injury. Women were manhandled and several were injured. On day 11, the MHRD committee made a visit to the university to assess the situation when the meeting with the students went on for 45 minutes, where in all our grievances was put forth. Surprisingly, the MHRD officials trivialized the fraudulent CV. On the same day, 15 students went on an indefinite hunger strike unto death. When students were critically in need of medical assistance due to deteriorating health, none of it was offered by the university’s health center, as was promised by the registrar. The administration feigned ignorance into the whole matter.

As of today, we have completed 150 hours of hunger strike. The strike will continue until she is ousted.

Update: 9 out of the 15 students who went on hunger strike, have fallen ill and have been taken to Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer). They were replaced by a fresh batch of 15 students.

Editor’s note: Facts stated in the article could not be independently verified.

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  1. Avinesh Saini

    How come mainstream media didn’t even choose to mention this incident?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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