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Bengaluru Hostel Terror: Girls Reveal Shocking Details

Inmates of the Bengaluru-based BCM Girls Hostel, which falls under the Karnataka Backward Classes Welfare Department (BCWD), reveal shocking details of harassment. The state government authorities administering the hostel tell us that disciplinary action has been initiated against the hostel warden, but Pavitra Utgikar of The Probe finds the contrary.

By Pavitra Utgikar
New Update


“There was a girl called Chandana whose father used to be a cab driver. The warden got her vacated from the girls hostel without any valid reason or provocation. Her father was crying and pleading with the hostel authorities not to do it. Today, she is staying in a private hostel, paying 6000 to 8000 rupees a month. How can a poor cab driver afford this? This was our final trigger, and five of us got together and decided to fight against this injustice,” says Jeevitha Nagesh, an inmate of BCM Girls Hostel in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru.

The Probe’s Pavitra Utgikar speaks to Jeevitha Nagesh, an inmate of BCM Girls Hostel in Bengaluru.

BCM Hostel, or the Backward Classes and Minority Hostel, is a programme run by the Karnataka government - an initiative specifically for students from the backward classes and marginalised sections. Jeevitha Nagesh, in an interview with The Probe, reveals glaring details about how the warden administered the hostel.

Jeevitha, a B Pharma student at Nargund College of Pharmacy in Bengaluru, says, “We are students from backward communities. We have been harassed and exploited in the girls hostel by the warden. We are forced to do menial tasks. We are asked to clean the common toilets, doors, washrooms, floors, and other chores. If we don’t clean the toilets, then the warden locks the toilets. Every day around 20 girls are called from the hostel, and they are asked to make around 400 chapatis that would be served to the girls. The hostel warden taunts us, and she is abusive.”

Jeevitha reveals that the expulsion of Chandana, the daughter of a cab driver, was the final straw and five hostel girls got together to fight for change and for the removal of the hostel warden. “We started collecting evidence against the hostel warden. Initially, there were three of us. Shobha akka (sister), Geeta and I. We decided to collect proof of all the illegal things happening in the hostel in 13 days. With much difficulty, we collected audio, visual and photographic evidence. Finally, two more girls joined us - Shilpa and Priya, and we decided to approach the authorities with our complaint.

The Probe has accessed the audio-visual evidence purportedly recorded by the girl students. The videos and the photos show the hostel girls cleaning common toilets and engaging in other menial activities. Shilpa V, a BTech student who also protested against the hostel authorities, tells The Probe that the situation in the hostel was beyond deplorable. “The hostel warden used to say that because of Covid, students were being asked to clean, but we know that this was the situation even before Covid. We were even asked to bring tables and chapati makers to the hostel. Five of us raised our voices because everyone was scared to speak against the warden. But even after giving photographic and video evidence, nothing much has happened. The situation remains the same. No one is taking this as a serious issue. As far as I know, no concrete action has been taken against the hostel warden.”

The students have revealed that they were forced to do the personal work of the warden. “I have cooked chapatis and cleaned washrooms. I would arrange water buckets for the warden so she could shower. The warden used to shower in the hostel itself. So, the girls had to arrange four buckets of hot water for the warden every day. Her soap, dress, sitting chair… everything has to be arranged in advance before she enters the washroom for a bath.”

The students have gone on to narrate that the articles provided by the government for the welfare of the students would never reach them. “In the food, we would find hair strands, worms and stones. When we complain, the warden taunts us and tells us that we come from poor communities and not from well-to-do families, almost making us feel that we don’t have the right to eat clean food or live in a dignified manner.”

The girls also alleged discrimination. Several girls revealed that perhaps action was not being taken against the warden because the students came from underprivileged communities. The girls have alleged that when they complained, the District Officer and the Taluk Officer paid a visit to the hostel for inspection, but the inmates who protested were threatened for approaching third parties against the hostel warden.

The Probe decided to speak to Harsha, the District Officer and Madhura, the Taluk Officer in the Karnataka Backward Classes Welfare Department, who inspected the BCM Girls Hostel in Rajarajeshwari Nagar following complaints against the hostel warden.

Speaking to The Probe, District Officer Harsha said, “The Taluk Officer, my superior officer and I had visited the hostel, and we had also interacted with the girls. Based on their interaction, we had given the warden a notice and received a reply from her. On that basis, we have changed the hostel warden from that particular hostel. We have deputed her to another hostel. The problem has been sorted out. She has been shifted to North Taluk. She has also given in writing that she will not continue with that behaviour.”

While speaking to The Probe, Taluk Officer Madhura said, “We have transferred the warden, and we have deputed a new warden in that hostel. The new warden’s name is Venkatlakshmamma. She has already taken charge. We have issued notice to the old warden”.

When we further probed and asked the Taluk Officer if any stringent disciplinary action had been taken against the warden, the official said, “No, we have only shifted her to another hostel, and we have asked her to change her ways.” When we questioned the Taluk Officer about what stops the warden from displaying the same behaviour in another hostel, we were told, “No, no. We have not suspended her or cut her increments. She has told us she will mend her ways.”

When we asked the inmates if the new warden had taken charge, they confirmed that they had still not been told that the warden had been shifted out. Shobha, another hostel inmate, told The Probe, “The new warden has not taken charge. We don’t even know that the old warden has been shunted out. As far as we know, the old warden told us that she is on leave for ten days. I don’t think any action has been taken as is being claimed. At least we cannot see it. Even yesterday, the girls were cleaning the common floors. The old warden still visits the hostel for a few hours though she is not regular.”

The students have said that the callous and casual response of the authorities has shocked them. “I want to appeal to Kota Srinivas Poojary, Minister of the Social Welfare Department and Backward Classes Welfare Department of Karnataka, that please let us know if an action has been taken in this matter. Please redress our grievances. We are poor students. We want to live with dignity and we want to feel safe inside the hostel.”