Locals hope that Thursday’s incident will not create a fear psychosis

“Such incidents used to occur in big cities. We never imagined that such things would happen right here.” These words of Shoubik Ray, who did his BA in Journalism at the Manipal Institute of Communication (MIC), sum up the sense of shock and disbelief that the incident of kidnapping and rape of a medical student on the Manipal University campus on Thursday has created among students and locals.

“In the short term, students will have a sense of fear after this incident. The police should take quick action so that this fear does not remain,” said Mr. Ray.

The university campus has been considered “safe” and it was routine for boys and girls to stay in the library till late.

The medical student was kidnapped and raped while she was going home from the library around 11.30 p.m., the time when the library closes.

A student from the institute, who did not wish to be named, said that students felt free going out to have tea or snacks late at night during examinations.

The Manipal University campus here has 17,962 students. Nearly 15,000 stay in the university hostel, while about 1,000 are day scholars. It is estimated that about 1,900 stay in private accommodation outside the campus.

While some choose to stay in flats because it affords them greater freedom, others do so because a shared accommodation where four or five stay together is more cost-effective, according to G.K. Prabhu, Registrar of Manipal University.

The local people hope that Thursday’s incident will not create a fear psychosis, even as it will naturally make students more cautious in the future.

Sudhakar Kini, owner of Canara Stationeries, who has been living here since 1955, said that such an incident had never taken place in Manipal.

Security

Santosh Shetty, proprietor of Manipal Bakery, who has been here for about 50 years, said that security should be tightened on the university campus, especially to make women students feel safe.

A student who spoke to The Hindu said that they did not feel as safe as they used to. “The security guards of the university should be alert and there should be more night patrolling,” he said.

In the light of the incident, the university had decided to henceforth involve student representatives in all decisions relating to the security of the campus, said Mr. Prabhu.

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