When a college campus is carved out of a national park, you expect to land amidst forest marsh in the campus itself. The Anna University campus, in Chennai, gets pitch dark after sunset and becomes a host to intruders. Students fear getting attacked by outsiders who threaten and assault them by taking the advantage of the darkness.

Incidents of students getting assaulted and robbed by outsiders in the university campus have now become a routine at Anna University. The students have repeatedly complained about physical battering and thefts inside the campus. “It was around 7.30 p.m. when I and my friend were attacked by a stranger. The intruder beat us using a laathi with the intention to rob us. Despite our shouts for help, nobody came to our rescue,” said a student who did not wish to be named.Reportedly, there was no security guard patrolling the area at that time who could help them.  

Recalling a similar incident, another student confessed of being robbed of her valuables. “Although we’re allowed to return by 8:30 p.m., I try to make it back to the hostel before it gets dark,” she said, recalling the horrifying incident. This matter was also reported to the police by the college authorities. However, measures from the institute’s side to beef up the security were taken much later. Moreover, when the students complained of intruders entering into the campus and manhandling them, the institute authorities blamed them for venturing in the dark.

When PaGaLGuY spoke to Prof. Narayana Swami, the Dean of Anna University, he said that the college authorities have asked the students to remain vigilant. “We have assigned additional patrolling duties to the security personnel. They have started patrolling the campus until 10 p.m.”  The administration staff also has been asked to keep an eye on the activities in the campus. “We also have ward counsellors who can be approached in case of any unpleasant incident,” Prof. Swami added.All these measures were taken post the 30-odd complaints that were made by the students last year. However, steps of patrolling the campus until 10 p.m. seems to be a half-hearted measure taken by the University authorities. The campus needs a permanent solution to ensure the safety of students and others visiting the campus.

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