Students at the Akal University in Punjab, went on a protest against the hostel authorities when around a dozen women students were made to strip by the warden.
The wardens of the women’s hostel allegedly found some soiled sanitary pads in the toilet of the women’s washroom and allegedly stripped over a dozen students with the help of two security guards. The Dean said that the involved staff members have been terminated for forcing the students into “unwanted behaviour.”
The college authorities had initially identified the incident as a small mistake, but later, under pressure, were forced to take legal action against the post holders involved. The authorities at the Akal University in Talwandi Sabo terminated the services of two female wardens and two female wardens after 600-700 students came out in protest against the same. However, the university administration has still not filed any police complaint against the accused and the Punjab State Women Commission has also not received any complaints in this regard.
The students in a conversation with TOI have mentioned that the state of the college in general is very conservative where girls and boys are not even allowed to talk to each other.
“We received a complaint from the students following which a committee was set up and four employees were immediately terminated,” said MS Johal, Dean, Academics, Akal University. “We are trying to maintain a healthy relationship and two-way communication with the students so that such incidents do not occur again,” Johal added.
This is not the first time that students have been made to strip in front of college/school authorities. Several such cases have been reported before. In 2017, around 70 women students were made to strip over the issue of menstrual blood in a residential school in Muzaffarnagar. Last year, a similar incident had occurred where two school girls were made to strip in school and, later, the Chief Minister, Amrinder Singh, had ordered the transfer of two teachers at a government school in Fazilka district.
Such instances provide a bleak picture of the school/college as safe spaces for children. The mechanism through which this works as a punishment is entrenched in the culture of bullying by the means of dehumanizing. The integrity of the student is not just taken for granted but, is attacked and rendered non existent. The recurrence of such cases puts in perspective the very code of conduct through which the business of education is run and it reinstates exactly why it demands immediate attention.